Synthesis of direct and maternal genetic components of economically important traits from beef breed-cross evaluations

T Roughsedge, R Thompson, B Villanueva, G Simm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Published information on relative performance of beef breed crosses was used to derive combined estimates of purebred breed values for predominant temperate beef breeds. The sources of information were largely from the United States, Canada, and New Zealand, although some European estimates were also included. Emphasis was on maternal traits of potential economic importance to the suckler beef production system, but some postweaning traits were also considered. The estimates were taken from comparison studies undertaken in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, each with representative samples of beef breeds used in temperate agriculture. Weighting factors for breed-cross estimates were derived using the number of sires and offspring that contributed to that estimate. These weights were then used in a weighted multiple regression analysis to obtain single purebred breed effects. Both direct additive and maternal additive genetic effects were estimated for preweaning traits. Important genetic differences between the breeds were shown for many of the traits. Significant regression coefficients were estimated for the effect of mature weight on calving ease, both maternal and direct additive genetic, survival to weaning direct, and birth weight direct. The breeds with greater mature weight were found to have greater maternal genetic effects for calving ease but negative direct genetic effects on calving ease. A negative effect of mature weight on the direct genetic effect of survival to weaning was observed. A cluster analysis was done using 17 breeds for which information existed on nine maternal traits. Regression was used to predict breed-cross-specific heterosis using genetic distance. Only five traits, birth weight, survival to weaning, cow fertility, and preweaning and postweaning growth rate had enough breed-cross-specific heterosis estimates to develop a prediction model. The breed biological values estimated provide a basis to predict the biological value of crossbred suckler cows and their offspring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2307-19
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Animals
  • Birth Weight
  • Breeding
  • Cattle
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Female
  • Fertility
  • Genetic Variation
  • Hybrid Vigor
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Regression Analysis
  • Survival Analysis


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