Genetic parameters for reproductive traits of crossbred buffaloes from Brazil, estimated by Bayesian inference
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The objective of the study was to estimate heritability for calving interval (CI) and age at first calving (AFC) and also calculate repeatability for CI in buffaloes using Bayesian inference. The Brazilian Buffaloes Genetic Improvement Program provided the database. Data consists on information from 628 females and four different herds, born between 1980 and 2003. In order to estimate the variance, univariate analyses were performed employing Gibbs sampler procedure included in the MTGSAM software. The model for CI included the random effects direct additive and permanent environment factors, and the fixed effects of contemporary groups and calving orders. The model for AFC included the direct additive random effect and contemporary groups as a fixed effect. The convergence diagnosis was obtained using Geweke that was implemented through the Bayesian Output Analysis package in R software. The estimated averages were 433.2 days and 36.7months for CI and AFC, respectively. The means, medians and modes for the calculated heritability coefficients were similar. The heritability coefficients were 0.10 and 0.42 for CI and AFC respectively, with a posteriori marginal density that follows a normal distribution for both traits. The repeatability for CI was 0.13. The low heritability estimated for CI indicates that the variation in this trait is, to a large extent, influenced by environmental factors such as herd management policies. The age at first calving has clear potential for yield improvement through direct selection in these animals.