Genetic parameters for buffalo milk yield and milk quality traits using Bayesian inference
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The availability of accurate genetic parameters for important economic traits in milking buffaloes is critical for implementation of a genetic evaluation program. In the present study, heritabilities and genetic correlations for fat (FY305), protein (PY305), and milk (MY305) yields, milk fat (%F) and protein (%P) percentages, and SCS were estimated using Bayesian methodology. A total of 4,907 lactations from 1,985 cows were used. The (co) variance components were estimated using multiple-trait analysis by Bayesian inference method, applying an animal model, through Gibbs sampling. The model included the fixed effects of contemporary groups (herd-year and calving season), number of milking (2 levels), and age of cow at calving as (co) variable (quadratic and linear effect). The additive genetic, permanent environmental, and residual effects were included as random effects in the model. The posterior means of heritability distributions for MY305, FY305, PY305, %F, P%, and SCS were 0.22, 0.21, 0.23, 0.33, 0.39, and 0.26, respectively. The genetic correlation estimates ranged from -0.13 (between %P and SCS) to 0.94 (between MY305 and PY305). The permanent environmental correlation estimates ranged from -0.38 (between MY305 and %P) to 0.97 (between MY305 and PY305). Residual and phenotypic correlation estimates ranged from -0.26 (between PY305 and SCS) to 0.97 (between MY305 and PY305) and from -0.26 (between MY305 and SCS) to 0.97 (between MY305 and PY305), respectively. Milk yield, milk components, and milk somatic cells counts have enough genetic variation for selection purposes. The genetic correlation estimates suggest that milk components and milk somatic cell counts would be only slightly affected if increasing milk yield were the selection goal. Selecting to increase FY305 or PY305 will also increase MY305, %P, and %F.
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