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Open AccessArticle

Estimation of the Genetic Parameters for Semen Traits in Spanish Dairy Sheep

1
Departamento de Producción Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de León, Campus de Vegazana s/n, 24071 León, Spain
2
Instituto Regional de Investigación y Desarrollo Agroalimentario y Forestal de Castilla La Mancha (IRIAF), CERSYRA de Valdepeñas, 13300 Ciudad Real, Spain
3
NEIKER, Instituto Vasco de Investigación y Desarrollo Agrario, Campus Agroalimentario de Arkaute, Apdo 46, 01080 Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
4
INIA. Departamento de Mejora genética Animal. Ctra. de la Coruña km 7.5, 28040 Madrid, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1147; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121147
Received: 31 October 2019 / Revised: 7 December 2019 / Accepted: 12 December 2019 / Published: 13 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Collection Applications of Quantitative Genetics in Livestock Production)
The limited studies addressing the estimation of genetic parameters for ram semen traits in different breeds show a wide variation, highlighting the importance of studying these traits for individual breeds. Therefore, this work aimed to estimate genetic parameters for traits related to semen production and quality in five dairy sheep breeds. For that, ejaculates of rams from Assaf, Churra, Latxa Cara Negra, Latxa Cara Rubia, and Manchega breeds were analyzed. Estimates of the genetic covariance structure were obtained with multiple-trait animal models using the average information REML (restricted maximum likelihood) method in the BLUPF90 family of programs. Repeatability estimates for all the traits were also calculated. Heritability estimates were of low to moderate magnitude, although the estimates differed among the breeds. The estimated genetic correlations among the three semen traits showed adequate precision only in the Manchega (MAN) breed. The heritability estimates reported here suggest that improvement of these traits may be achieved by genetic selection.
This work aimed to estimate genetic parameters for traits related to semen production and quality in Spanish dairy sheep breeds. For that, ejaculates of rams from Assaf, Churra, Latxa Cara Negra, Latxa Cara Rubia, and Manchega breeds were analyzed to measure volume, semen concentration, and motility. Estimates of variance components were obtained with multiple-trait animal models using the average information REML method in the BLUPF90 family of programs. Repeatability estimates for all the traits were also calculated, with values ranging from 0.077 to 0.304 for the motility and the semen concentration traits, respectively. Heritability estimates were of low to moderate magnitude, ranging from 0.014 (motility in Latxa Cara Rubia) to 0.198 (volume in Churra), although the estimates differed among the breeds. The estimated genetic correlations among the three semen traits showed adequate precision only in the MAN breed. The heritability estimates for the semen traits reported in the present paper suggest an adequate response to selection. The practical extension of these results to the other breeds studied here will be secondary to the estimation of more reliable genetic correlations in these breeds. View Full-Text
Keywords: semen traits; sheep; genetic parameters; heritability semen traits; sheep; genetic parameters; heritability
MDPI and ACS Style

Pelayo, R.; Ramón, M.; Granado-Tajada, I.; Ugarte, E.; Serrano, M.; Gutiérrez-Gil, B.; Arranz, J.-J. Estimation of the Genetic Parameters for Semen Traits in Spanish Dairy Sheep. Animals 2019, 9, 1147.

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