Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

May 1998


Published in J. Anim. Sci. 1998. 76:2272–2278.


Data from 3,593 beef heifers and 4,079 of their steer paternal half-sibs were used to estimate genetic parameters of and among female growth and reproductive traits and male carcass traits. Estimates of heritability for adjusted 205-d weight, adjusted 365-d weight, age at puberty, calving rate, and calving difficulty measured on females were .16, .38, .47, .19, and .18, respectively; estimates for calving rate and calving difficulty were expressed on a normal scale. Estimates of heritability for hot carcass weight; retail product percentage; fat percentage; bone percentage; rib eye area; kidney, pelvic, and heart fat percentage; adjusted fat thickness; marbling score; Warner-Bratzler shear force; taste panel tenderness; taste panel juiciness; and taste panel flavor that were measured on steers at an average age of 447 d (weaning age = 185, days on feed = 262) were .50, .66, .58, .54, .61, .48, .66, .71, .26, .31, .00, and .04, respectively. Genetic correlations were positive for heifer weights with hot carcass weight, fat percentage, rib eye area, adjusted fat thickness, marbling score, and Warner-Bratzler shear force, and they were negative with retail product percentage and kidney, pelvic, and heart fat percentage of steers. Age at puberty was genetically correlated with taste panel tenderness but not with other carcass traits. Calving rate had positive genetic correlations with fat percentage, rib eye area, adjusted fat thickness, and taste panel flavor, and it had negative genetic correlations with retail product percentage; bone percentage; and kidney, pelvic, and heart fat percentage. Calving difficulty had favorable genetic correlations with hot carcass weight, retail product percentage, and measures of carcass tenderness, but it was unfavorably correlated with traits that involve carcass fatness. These results indicate that selection for some traits expressed in one sex of beef cattle may result in undesirable responses in traits expressed in the opposite sex.