Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

January 1996


Published in J. Anim. Sci. 1996. 74:1234–1239.


Estimates of variances due to additive and dominance genetic effects and permanent and temporary environmental effects were obtained for ovulation and twinning rates from a composite population selected for twinning rate. Measures of ovulation rate after 11 mo of age on 2,317 heifers with a total of 19,209 measures were used. Twinning measures were on 1,522 first-parity cows, 1,311 later-parity cows with a total of 3,571 measures, and 1,704 all-parity cows with 5,100 measures. Models included fixed effects of year-season-age at calving for twinning, and year-season of birth, age in months, and calendar month of measurement for ovulation rate. Four analyses were performed for each sample: combinations of models with and without dominance effects and with and without covariates for fractions of inheritance from the seven foundation groups. Variance components as fractions of phenotypic variance for analysis of all ovulation rate measures were .076, .000, and .045 for additive, dominance, and permanent environmental effects with no foundation groups in the model and .069, .000, and .050 with foundation groups in the model. For sums of eight measures, the estimates were .287 and .000 for relative variances of additive and dominance effects with groups in the model and .316 and .000 with groups ignored. For twinning rate for first parity, estimates were .126 and .209 for relative variances of additive and dominance effects; for later parities, estimates were .045 and .035 for models including foundation group effects. The results suggest lack of dominance effects in expression of ovulation rate and the possibility of dominance effects for embryo and(or) fetal survival or conception rate because twinning rate is a function of ovulation, conception, and embryo and(or) fetal survival rates.