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Animal Breeding and Genetics
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2002;15(9): 1371-1377.
https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2002.1371    Published online January 1, 2002.
Genetic Variation in Growth and Body Dimensions of Jersey and Limousin Cross Cattle. 1. Pre- Weaning Performance
R. A. Afolayan, W. S. Pitchford, A. W. Weatherly, C. D. K. Bottema
During a 5-yr period, 1994-1998, pre-weaning and weaning data were collected on 591 calves produced by mating either straightbred Jersey, straightbred Limousin or F1 (Limousin Jersey) bulls to mature purebred Jersey or Limousin cows. Traits recorded included birth and weaning weight, height, length, girth, fat depth and a measure of muscle (ratio of stifle to hip width expressed as a percentage). All traits were analyzed assuming a model with sire and dam random effects that included effects of year and date of birth, sex, breed and year sex interaction. Main effects were generally significant with few exceptions. Direct genetic effects were large for weight, height, girth and muscle with a breed trend from purebred Jersey (small) to purebred Limousin (large). At weaning, the maternal effect of the Jersey dam was positive for weight (10.9 4.9 kg), girth (3.7 1.0 cm) and muscle (6.0 0.9%). Heterosis was highly significant and positive only for fat depth (1.5 0.2 mm) with the F1 progeny being the fattest, followed by the backcrosses, then purebred Jersey and purebred Limousin. Also, significant (p<0.001) but negative heterosis was observed for weight, girth and muscle. The change in ranking for fat depth relative to other traits is a reflection of the large heterotic effects relative to direct effects on fat depth. Epistatic effects were not significant on any trait at birth or weaning. This study has indicated the possibility of exploiting the positive heterotic and maternal effects for fat depth and muscularity to meet specific meat quality and quantity demand by consumers.
Keywords: Genetic Effects; Weight; Height; Fat; Muscle

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