Genotype by environment interaction for birth and weaning weights of composite beef cattle in different regions of Brazil
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The objectives of the present study were to characterize and define homogenous production environments of composite beef cattle in Brazil in terms of climatic and geographic variables using multivariate exploratory techniques and to use them to assess the presence of G x E for birth weight (BW) and weaning weight (WW). Data from animals born between 1995 and 2008 on 36 farms located in 27 municipalities of the Brazilian states were used. Fifteen years of climate observations (mean minimum and maximum annual temperature and mean annual rainfall) and geographic (latitude, longitude and altitude) data were obtained for each municipality where the farms were located for characterization of the production environments. Hierarchical and nonhierarchical cluster analysis was used to group farms located in regions with similar environmental variables into clusters. Six clusters of farms were formed. The effect of sire-cluster interaction was tested by single-trait analysis using deviance information criterion (DIC). Genetic parameters were estimated by multi-trait analysis considering the same trait to be different in each cluster. According to the values of DIC, the inclusion of sire-cluster effect did not improve the fit of the genetic evaluation model for BW and WW. Estimates of genetic correlations among clusters ranged from -0.02 to 0.92. The low genetic correlation among the most studied regions permits us to suggest that a separate genetic evaluation for some regions should be undertaken. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.