Morten Kargo

Genotype by environment interaction for activity-based estrus traits in relation to production level for Danish Holstein

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DOI

  • Ahmed Ismael, Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet
  • ,
  • Erling Strandberg, Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • ,
  • Britt Berglund, Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet
  • ,
  • Morten Kargo
  • Anders Fogh, Knowledge center for Agriculture
  • ,
  • Peter Løvendahl

The objective of this study was to investigate whether genotype by environment interaction exists for female fertility traits and production of energy-corrected milk at 70 d in milk (ECM70). Fertility traits considered were the activity-based estrus traits interval from calving to first high activity (CFHA), duration of high activity episode (DHA), as an indicator for first estrus duration, and strength of high activity episode (SHA), as an indicator for first estrus strength. The physical activity traits were derived from electronic activity tags for 11,522 first-parity cows housed in 125 commercial dairy herds. Data were analyzed using a univariate random regression animal model (URRM), by regressing the phenotypic performance on the average herd ECM70 as an environmental gradient. Furthermore, the genetic correlations between CFHA and ECM70 as a function of production level were estimated using a bivariate random regression animal model (BRRM). For all traits, heterogeneity of additive genetic variances and heritability estimates was observed. The heritability estimate for CFHA decreased from 0.25 to 0.10 with increasing production level and the heritability estimate for ECM70 decreased from 0.35 to 0.15 with increasing production level using URRM. The genetic correlation of the same trait in low and high production levels was around 0.74 for CFHA and 0.80 for ECM70 using URRM, but when data were analyzed using the multiple-trait analysis (MT), genetic correlation estimates between low and high production levels were not significantly different from unity. Furthermore, the genetic correlation of SHA between low and high production level was 0.22 using URRM, but the corresponding correlation estimate had large standard error when data were analyzed using MT. The genetic correlation between CFHA and ECM70 as a function of production environment was weak but unfavorable and decreased slightly from 0.09 to 0.04 with increasing production level using BRRM. Moreover, the same trend was observed when the data were analyzed using MT where the genetic correlation between CFHA and ECM70 in the low production environment was 0.29 compared with −0.13 in the high production environment, but these estimates had large standard errors. In conclusion, regardless of the trait used, in relation to average herd ECM70 production, the results indicated no clear evidence of strong genotype by environment interaction that would cause significant re-ranking of sires between low and high production environments.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume99
Issue12
Pages (from-to)9834-9844
Number of pages11
ISSN0022-0302
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016

    Research areas

  • activity-based estrus traits, female fertility, genotype by environment interaction, random regression model

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