Growth curves of carcass traits obtained by ultrasonography in three lines of Nellore cattle selected for body weight
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The effect of selection for postweaning weight was evaluated within the growth curve parameters for both growth and carcass traits. Records of 2404 Nellore animals from three selection lines were analyzed: two selection lines for high postweaning weight, selection (NeS) and traditional (NeT); and a control line (NeC) in which animals were selected for postweaning weight close to the average. Body weight (BW), hip height (HH), rib eye area (REA), back fat thickness (BFT), and rump fat thickness (RFT) were measured and records collected from animals 8 to 20 (males) and 11 to 26 (females) months of age. The parameters A (asymptotic value) and k (growth rate) were estimated using the nonlinear model procedure of the Statistical Analysis System program, which included fixed effect of line (NeS, NeT, and NeC) in the model, with the objective to evaluate differences in the estimated parameters between lines. Selected animals (NeS and NeT) showed higher growth rates than control line animals (NeC) for all traits. Line effect on curves parameters was significant (P < 0.001) for BW, HH, and REA in males, and for BFT and RFT in females. Selection for postweaning weight was effective in altering growth curves, resulting in animals with higher growth potential.