Genetic correlations among selected traits in Canadian Holsteins


Source: Canadian Journal of Animal Science

AuthorsP. MartinC. BaesK. HoulahanC.M. RichardsonJ. Jamrozik, and F. Miglior


In the Canadian dairy industry, there are currently over 80 traits routinely evaluated, and more are considered for potential selection. Particularly, in the last few years, recording has commenced for several new phenotypes required to introduce novel traits with high economic importance into the selection program. However, without a systematic estimation of the genetic correlations that exist among traits, the potential results of indirect selection are unknown. Therefore, 29 traits representative of the trait diversity for first lactation Canadian animals were selected. Their two-by-two genetic correlations were estimated from a dataset of 62 498 first lactation Holstein cows, using a Markov Chain Monte Carlo Gibbs sampling approach. The general tendencies among the groups of traits confirm that production traits are negatively correlated with fertility traits and that functional traits are positively correlated with one another. The association of udder depth with fertility and disease resistance has also been highlighted. This contribution offers a comprehensive overview of current estimates across traits and includes correlations with novel traits that constitute an original addition to the literature. These new estimates can be used for newly developed genomic evaluation models and possibly lead to more accurate estimations of the dairy cows’ overall genetic merit.
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