Journal Article


D P Berry
A Blom
M L Doherty
D A Graham
A J Twomey



dairy cows milk production traits standard deviation genetic variability cattle ireland parasitic diseases carcass traits cattle performance traits

Little Genetic Variability in Resilience Among Cattle Exists for a Range of Performance Traits Across Herds in Ireland Differing in F. hepatica-Prevalence. (2018)

Abstract It is anticipated that in the future, livestock will be exposed to a greater risk of infection from parasitic diseases. Therefore, future breeding strategies for livestock, which are generally long-term strategies for change, should target animals adaptable to environments with a high parasitic load. Covariance components were estimated in the present study for a selection of dairy and beef performance traits over herd-years differing in F. hepatica load using random regression sire models. Herd-year prevalence of F. hepatica was determined by using F. hepatica-damaged liver phenotypes which were recorded in abattoirs nationally. The data analyzed consisted up to 83,821 lactation records from dairy cows for a range of milk production and fertility traits, as well as 105,054 young animals with carcass-related information obtained at slaughter. Reaction norms for individual sires were derived from the random regression coefficients. The heritability and additive genetic standard deviations for all traits analyzed remained relatively constant as herd-year F. hepatica-prevalence gradient increased up to a prevalence level of 0.7; although there was a large increase in heritability and additive genetic standard deviation for milk and fertility traits in the observed F. hepatica-prevalence levels > 0.7, only 5% of the data existed in herd-year prevalence levels > 0.7. Very little re-scaling, therefore, exists across differing herd-year F. hepatica-prevalence levels. Within-trait genetic correlations among the performance traits across different herd-year F. hepatica-prevalence levels were less than unity for all traits. Nevertheless, within-trait genetic correlations for milk production and carcass traits were all > 0.8 for F. hepatica-prevalence levels between 0.2 and 0.8. The lowest estimate of within-trait genetic correlations for the different fertility traits ranged from -0.03 (SE=1.09) in age of first calving to 0.54 (SE=0.22) for calving to first service interval. Therefore, there was re-ranking of sires for fertility traits across different F. hepatica-prevalence levels. In conclusion, there was little or no genetic variability in sensitivity to F. hepatica-prevalence levels among cattle for milk production and carcass traits. But, some genetic variability in sensitivity among dairy cows did exist for fertility traits measured across herds differing in F. hepatica-prevalence.
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Full list of authors on original publication

D P Berry, A Blom, M L Doherty, D A Graham, A J Twomey

Experts in our system

D P Berry
Total Publications: 243
Michael L. Doherty
Total Publications: 119
David A. Graham
University College Dublin
Total Publications: 32