Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

January 1995


Published in J. Anim. Sci. 1995. 73:1002-1011.


Dominance and additive x additive genetic variances were estimated for birth and weaning traits of calves from thee synthetic lines of beef cattle differing in mature size. Data consisted of 3,992 and 2,877 records from lines of small-, medium-, and large-framed calves in each of two research herds located at Rhodes and McNay, IA, respectively. Variance components were estimated separately by herd and line for birth weight (BWT), birth hip height (BH), 205-d weight (WW), and 205-d hip height (WH) by derivative-free REML with an animal model. Model 1 included fixed effects of year, sex, and age of dam. Random effects were additive direct (a) and additive maternal (m) genetic with covariance (a,m), maternal permanent environmental, and residual. Model 2 also included dominance (d) and model 3 included dominance plus additive x additive (a:a) effects. In general, only slight changes occurred in other variance components estimates when day was included in Model 2. However, large estimates of additive x additive genetic variances obtained with Model 3 for 4 out of 24 analyses were associated with reductions in estimates of direct additive variances. Direct (maternal) heritability estimates averaged across herd-line combinations with Model 2 were .53(.11), .42(.04), .27(.12), and .35(.04) for BWT, BH, WW, WH, respectively. Corresponding covariance (a,m) estimates as fractions of phenotypic variance (σp2) were .00, .01, .01, and .06, respectively. For maternal permanent environmental effects in Model 2, average estimates of variances as fractions of σp2 across herd-line combinations were .03, .00, .05, and .02, for BW, BH, WW, and WH, respectively. Dominance effects explained, on average, 18, 26, 28, and 11% of total variance for BWT, BH, WW, and WH, respectively. Most of the estimates for additive x additive variances were negligible, except for one data set for BWT, two for BH, and one for WH, where the relative estimates of this component were high (.21 to .45). These results suggest that most of the non-additive genetic variance in the traits studied is accounted for by dominance genetic effects.