A note on divergent selection for total fleece weight in adult Angora rabbits: direct response to selection on total fleece weight at first and second harvest.
Keywords:Angora rabbit, divergent selection, heritability, fleece
AbstractIn order to explore the genetic variability of wool production and other quantitative traits, an 8-cohort divergent selection experiment for total fleece weight (TFW) was carried out in French Angora rabbits. Studies were made on the wool production of a total of 669 female rabbits born between 1994 and 2001 and having produced wool from first to 12th harvests. The aim of the selection experiment was to obtain two divergent lines (low and high) on TFW. From preliminary analysis, the dataset was separated into three subsets according to the harvest number: one for each of the first two harvests and one for the third to the 12th harvests. In this paper, wool production data of the first and second harvests was analysed separately. Response to selection for total fleece weight at 3-12 harvest (TFW3-12) on this trait at first and second harvest was the aim of this paper. The second objective was to study the possibility of utilising values of the first or second harvest to estimate breeding values and as selection criteria for total fleece weight in the French Angora rabbit. Preliminary analysis of the data for non-genetic factors was done by the GLM procedure of SAS. Genetic parameters and breeding value estimates were carried out using a BLUP animal model using ASReml. A linear mixed model for a bivariate analysis of total fleece weight at first or second harvest and TFW3-12 was used. Heritability estimates of total fleece weight at first and second harvests were 0.36 and 0.38, respectively, and were similar to that observed at later harvests (0.35). The genetic correlation between TFW3-12 and fleece weight at first harvest was close to zero indicating that wool production at first harvest is a different trait from that of subsequent harvests. Genetic correlation estimates observed at second harvest were high (0.76) and response to selection at second harvest was similar to that observed for TFW3-12. These observations confirm that total fleece weight at first harvest is a different trait from TFW3-12. In French Angora rabbits, the high genetic correlation between TFW3-12 and total fleece weight at second harvest suggests the possibility of selection at this time for TFW3-12.
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