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Quantitative genetic studies on wool yellowing in Corriedale sheep. II. Clean wool colour and wool production traits: Genetic parameter estimates and economic returns



Quantitative genetic studies on wool yellowing in Corriedale sheep. II. Clean wool colour and wool production traits: Genetic parameter estimates and economic returns



Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 51(2): 191-196



The potential for improvement of clean wool colour (CWC) in Corriedale sheep via selection was examined. The heritability, and phenotypic and genetic correlations, of CWC, brightness (Y), greasy (GFW) and clean (CFW) fleece weights, yield percentage (Yield), mean fibre diameter (MFD), and visual colour score were estimated from 440 progeny of 19 sires of a Corriedale flock using restricted maximum likelihood (REML) procedures with average information algorithm (AIREML). The heritability of CWC was estimated at 0.27+-0.13. Clean wool colour showed strong positive genetic correlations with CFW and MFD. Visual colour score and CWC were also positively genetically correlated. As expected, direct selection criteria against MFD, CWC, or visual colour score would reduce CWC; however, direct selection against MFD would improve clean wool colour with negligible reductions on CFW, thus resulting in small economic gains. Several selection indices were calculated having either CFW, MFD, and CWC or CFW and MFD as selection criteria. The b-values of an unrestricted index were estimated at I1 = + 1.15 CFW + 0.13 MFD + 0.43 CWC, with positive correlated responses for all 3 breeding objective traits (CFW, MFD, and CWC). A second index, where CFW was restricted to nil genetic change, was estimated at: I2 = + 0.14 CFW - 0.02 MFD + 0.01 CWC. This index was expected to cause a negligible genetic gain for CWC (-0.04 Y-Z units/head.year). To avoid economic losses with the reduction on CFW, a third selection index was calculated where CWC was restricted to nil change. The index was estimated at I3 = +0.61 CFW - 0.07 MFD + 0.02 CWC with expected increases in CFW and decreases in MFD. Selection indices with (a) CFW and MFD (I4) and (b) CFW, MFD, and visual colour score (I5) as selection criteria would increase CFW, MFD, and CWC at the same rates observed in I1.

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