Genetic analysis of live weight of local kids to promote genetic evaluations in the arid areas of Tunisia

Abstract

Goat meat production, a widely extended activity in the more arid areas of Tunisia, relies on local breeds. These breeds are well adapted to produce under harsh conditions but have a very small size and low productivity. The aim of this study was to establish the basis for future genetic evaluations to improve growth potential of this local stock. A total of 13,095 body weights and pedigree of 945 kids in the caprine herd of the Arid Areas Institute of Médenine were used. Random regression (RR) and multiple trait (MT) models were analyzed and compared. All models included effects of age and weight of dam, age, sex and type of birth of the kid, and year × month of recording, plus random direct and maternal additive genetic and permanent environmental effects. RR and MT models behave similarly, with RR showing slightly better goodness of fit. Heritability estimates for direct (ranging from 0.15 to 0.4) and maternal (0.05 to 0.3) effects showed that efficient selection for weight is feasible in this population. Estimated correlations between ages were high (> 0.8) for direct effects across all ages and low (down to 0.2) for weights taken at distant ages for maternal effects. Estimated genetic correlations between direct and maternal components revealed an antagonistic relationship, especially at early ages. Recording of at least one weight in the first month of age of the kids to evaluate the maternal capacity and a later weight to evaluate direct effects on weight is recommended for genetic evaluations under field conditions.

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Correspondence to María Jesús Carabaño.

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This study does not involve any human or animal testing, only routine management practices in animal husbandry.

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Atoui, A., Carabaño, M.J., Díaz, C. et al. Genetic analysis of live weight of local kids to promote genetic evaluations in the arid areas of Tunisia. Trop Anim Health Prod 52, 955–968 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-019-02081-z

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Keywords

  • Goats
  • Growth traits
  • Genetic evaluations
  • Random regression models
  • Multitrait models