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Article

The Effect of Integrating Genomic Information into Genetic Evaluations of Chinese Merino Sheep

1
College of Animal Science, Xinjiang Agricultural University, Urumqi 830052, China
2
Key Laboratory of Genetics Breeding and Reproduction of Xinjiang Cashmere and Wool Sheep, Institute of Animal Science, Xinjiang Academy of Animal Science, Urumqi 830011, China
3
Laboratory of Animal Genetics, Breeding and Reproduction, Ministry of Agriculture of China, National Engineering Laboratory of Animal Breeding, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
4
Xinjiang Gonaisi Fine Wool Sheep-Breeding Farm, Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture 835800, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(4), 569; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040569
Received: 12 March 2020 / Revised: 24 March 2020 / Accepted: 24 March 2020 / Published: 28 March 2020
Genetic improvement of wool production and quality traits in fine-wool sheep is an appealing option for enhancing the market value of wool products. We estimated genetic parameters and the accuracies of estimated breeding values for various wool production and quality traits in fine-wool sheep using pedigree-based best linear unbiased prediction (PBLUP) and single-step genomic best linear unbiased prediction (ssGBLUP) strategies. ssGBLUP performed slightly better than PBLUP for the studied traits. Therefore, the single-step genetic evaluation method could be successfully implemented in genomic evaluations of fine-wool sheep and the prediction of future breeding values in young Merino sheep as part of an early preselection strategy in the near future.
Genomic evaluations are a method for improving the accuracy of breeding value estimation. This study aimed to compare estimates of genetic parameters and the accuracy of breeding values for wool traits in Merino sheep between pedigree-based best linear unbiased prediction (PBLUP) and single-step genomic best linear unbiased prediction (ssGBLUP) using Bayesian inference. Data were collected from 28,391 yearlings of Chinese Merino sheep (classified in 1992–2018) at the Xinjiang Gonaisi Fine Wool Sheep-Breeding Farm, China. Subjectively-assessed wool traits, namely, spinning count (SC), crimp definition (CRIM), oil (OIL), and body size (BS), and objectively-measured traits, namely, fleece length (FL), greasy fleece weight (GFW), mean fiber diameter (MFD), crimp number (CN), and body weight pre-shearing (BWPS), were analyzed. The estimates of heritability for wool traits were low to moderate. The largest h2 values were observed for FL (0.277) and MFD (0.290) with ssGBLUP. The heritabilities estimated for wool traits with ssGBLUP were slightly higher than those obtained with PBLUP. The accuracies of breeding values were low to moderate, ranging from 0.362 to 0.573 for the whole population and from 0.318 to 0.676 for the genotyped subpopulation. The correlation between the estimated breeding values (EBVs) and genomic EBVs (GEBVs) ranged from 0.717 to 0.862 for the whole population, and the relative increase in accuracy when comparing EBVs with GEBVs ranged from 0.372% to 7.486% for these traits. However, in the genotyped population, the rank correlation between the estimates obtained with PBLUP and ssGBLUP was reduced to 0.525 to 0.769, with increases in average accuracy of 3.016% to 11.736% for the GEBVs in relation to the EBVs. Thus, genomic information could allow us to more accurately estimate the relationships between animals and improve estimates of heritability and the accuracy of breeding values by ssGBLUP. View Full-Text
Keywords: Chinese Merino sheep; wool traits; Bayesian inference; single-step GBLUP Chinese Merino sheep; wool traits; Bayesian inference; single-step GBLUP
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wei, C.; Luo, H.; Zhao, B.; Tian, K.; Huang, X.; Wang, Y.; Fu, X.; Tian, Y.; Di, J.; Xu, X.; Wu, W.; Tulafu, H.; Yasen, M.; Zhang, Y.; Zhao, W. The Effect of Integrating Genomic Information into Genetic Evaluations of Chinese Merino Sheep. Animals 2020, 10, 569. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040569

AMA Style

Wei C, Luo H, Zhao B, Tian K, Huang X, Wang Y, Fu X, Tian Y, Di J, Xu X, Wu W, Tulafu H, Yasen M, Zhang Y, Zhao W. The Effect of Integrating Genomic Information into Genetic Evaluations of Chinese Merino Sheep. Animals. 2020; 10(4):569. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040569

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wei, Chen, Hanpeng Luo, Bingru Zhao, Kechuan Tian, Xixia Huang, Yachun Wang, Xuefeng Fu, Yuezhen Tian, Jiang Di, Xinming Xu, Weiwei Wu, Hanikezi Tulafu, Maerziya Yasen, Yajun Zhang, and Wensheng Zhao. 2020. "The Effect of Integrating Genomic Information into Genetic Evaluations of Chinese Merino Sheep" Animals 10, no. 4: 569. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040569

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