Genetic parameter estimation for visual score and ponderal development traits in Nellore cattle
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The aim of this study was to evaluate the genetic association between visual scores of structure, finishing precocity and muscling with weight at 18 months, daily weight gain and scrotal circumference in male Nellore. A total of 7,256 records of animals participating in weight gain trials were used. The (co) variance components were estimated by restricted maximum likelihood, under an animal model. Contemporary group, age and weight as covariate linears were included as fixed effects. Additive genetic effects were the only random effect. The heritability estimates for structure, precocity and muscling were 0.30; 0.37 and 0.32 respectively. The genetic correlations between visual score were 0.76 to 0.95, indicating that the visual scores are controlled by the same set of genes, a fact making individual selection more complex. The visual scores showed similar genetic correlations with daily weight gain, weight at 18 months and scrotal circumference, ranging from 0.45 to 0.50, from 0.80 to 0.83 and from -0.05 to -0.03, respectively, indicating that individual selection for visual scores will result in genetic changes in the same direction in weight at 18 months and, to a lesser extent, in daily weight gain.