Free Access
Genet. Sel. Evol.
Volume 40, Number 3, May-June 2008
Page(s) 309 - 319
Published online 10 April 2008
Genet. Sel. Evol. 40 (2008) 309-319
DOI: 10.1051/gse:2008005

Exploration of cytoplasmic inheritance as a contributor to maternal effects in Welsh Mountain sheep

Tracey Pritchard, Christine Cahalan and Ioan Ap Dewi

School of the Environment and Natural Resources, University of Wales, Bangor, LL57 2UW, UK

(Received 17 April 2007; accepted 22 October 2007; published online 10 April 2008)

Abstract - Cytoplasmic effects were investigated using a dataset comprising three breeding groups of Welsh Mountain sheep. The influences of cytoplasmic effects were investigated by comparing animal models with and without a random term representing cytoplasmic effects. The models were applied to the eight-week weight, scan weight (mean 152 days) and ultrasonically scanned muscle and fat depth. The animal model included the random effects of animals and the maternal additive genetic, maternal permanent environmental and maternal common environmental effects. In total there were 24 569, 10 509, 8389, 8369 records for the eight-week weight, scan weight, muscle depth and fat depth respectively. Four subsets were further analysed containing maternal lines with at least five, ten, fifteen and twenty animals/line. There was no evidence of cytoplasmic effects on eight-week weight and muscle depth. Cytoplasmic effects contributed 1-2% of phenotypic variance for scan-weight and fat depth, but the effect was generally non-significant ( ${\rm P} >0.05$). As the number of animals per maternal line increased, the magnitude of cytoplasmic effects also increased for these traits. Direct heritability estimates for the eight-week weight, scan weight, muscle depth and fat depth using the full dataset were 0.18, 0.25, 0.24, and 0.21 respectively.

Key words: cytoplasmic inheritance / model / maternal effect / sheep

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2008