Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

January 1998


Published in J. Anim. Sci. 1998. 76:1303–1310.


Records of five inbred lines at the Livestock and Range Research Laboratory were used to evaluate effects of inbreeding and heterozygosity on preweaning traits. Members of each line were descendants of a single founder Hereford bull. A total of 8,065 records of birth weight and 7,380 records of preweaning daily gain and weaning weight were analyzed by derivative-free REML using a model that included fixed effects of sex, combination of year and month of birth and parity of dam, with covariates for direct and maternal genetic fractions of inheritance from the genetic groups, inbreeding, and heterozygosity fractions. Heterozygosity fractions were computed for crosses between lines. The random model effects were direct and maternal genetic and uncorrelated maternal permanent environmental and temporary environmental. Direct inbreeding and heterozygosity fractions averaged .098 and .343, and maternal inbreeding and heterozygosity fractions averaged .075 and .294. Regression coefficients of traits on direct and maternal inbreeding fractions were -5.8 ± 1.1 and -4.7 ± 1.3 for birth weight, -.189 ± .031 and -.252 ± .039 for preweaning daily gain, and -44.5 ± 6.6 and -56.1 ± 8.4 kg for weaning weight. Estimates for direct heritability, maternal heritability, and direct-maternal genetic correlations were .37, .12, and -.01 for birth weight; .16, .25, and -.27 for daily gain; and .17, .26, and -.21 for weaning weight. Results suggest that heterosis represents recovery of accumulated inbreeding depression. Results also indicate that selection can overcome inbreeding depression and antagonism exists between direct and maternal genetic effects for preweaning traits.