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Genetic effects on beef heifer puberty and subsequent reproduction



Genetic effects on beef heifer puberty and subsequent reproduction



Journal of Animal Science 70(12): 4006-4017



Significant genetic variation exists within and between breeds of beef cattle for age at puberty (AP). In general, faster-gaining breed groups of larger mature size reach puberty at a later age than do slower-gaining breed groups of smaller mature size; breeds selected for milk production reach puberty at younger ages than do those breeds not selected for milk production. Heterosis, independent of heterosis effects on weight, influences most measures of puberty in females and scrotal circumference (SC) in males. Crossbred heifers reach puberty at younger ages and heavier weights than their straightbred counterparts. Scrotal circumference has been shown to be an excellent indicator of AP in yearling bulls. Furthermore, a favorable genetic relationship exists between SC in bulls and AP of female offspring. Beef cattle breeders may take a direct approach to breeding for AP and subsequent reproduction by directly selecting for measures of fertility such as SC. However, an indirect approach, involving selection for an array of traits that provide an appropriate 'genetic environment' for the expression of fertility (i.e., size, milk production, calving ease) may be preferred. Although seedstock producers are limited to making change through within-breed selection, commercial producers can take advantage of both within- and between-breed selection as well as crossbreeding to achieve the same goal.

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Accession: 002390813

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 1474037

DOI: 10.2527/1992.70124006x


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