Logistic growth curve parameter estimates for scrotal circumference and relationships with female reproduction in crossbred sheep
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Data from two groups of lambs were analyzed. In group one, seasonal patterns of testis growth through 16 mo of age were assessed on 40 spring-born ram lambs (eight Barbados Blackbelly, 10 Suffolk and 22 1/2-Dorset, 1/4-Finnish Landrace, 1/4-Rambouillet). Scrotal circumference (sc) and body weight (wt) were measured at mean ages of 30, 62, 96, 124, 153, 180, 212,243,290,333,364,398,427,454,488 and 517 d. A multivariate repeated measures analysis indicated that there were breed differences in ram sc and wt measurements at each age. When logistic growth curves were fit to ram sc data, breed differences were associated with parameters of the logistic curve that defined mature testis size and the period of rapid testis growth.
For group two, data were collected on 1,044 lambs from 727 spring lambings over 5 years; 67 sires and 525 dams were represented. Sc and wt were measured in rams at 5 times (mean ages of 44,63,97, 129 and 156 d); ewes were weighed at these times and at three additional times (187, 230 and 271 d). All ewe lambs were kept for fall breeding. Fertility, prolificacy and postweaning spring mating behavior of ewes that had lambed were measured. After ewes lambed, they were exposed to vasectomized rams and checked for postweaning spring mating behavior.
Restricted maximum likelihood (REML) was used to estimate variance components for additive genetic, ewe, and litter effects in group two Jambs. Heritability estimates for wt at birth to 150 d ranged from .14 to .42. Heritabilities for sc and sc scaled to the 1/3 power of body weight (rsc) ranged from .09 to .57 and from .13 to .55, respectively, and were largest at approximately 90 d. Logistic sc growth curves were fitted to data from individual ram lambs. Heritabilities of the estimated logistic parameters mature sc (A), sc maturing rate (k), age at inflection of the sc growth curve (tl)and initial 14-d sc (SC14)' were estimated at .09 + .15, .17 + .18, .37 + .29 and .40 + .14, respectively. Heritability estimates for fertility and spring mating behavior (spbrd) were .04+ .13 and .4 tÂ± .19, respectively. The heritability estimate for prolificacy was zero.
Longitudinal additive genetic covariances among wt, sc and rsc at the second, third and fourth measurements were estimated from approximate multivariate REML analysis treating variances as known. Estimated genetic correlations among wts were largest, and ranged from. 77 to .93. Estimated genetic correlations for rsc traits were between .48 and .90. Estimated genetic correlations for sc ranged only from .10 to .67. Pairwise genetic correlations among sc or rsc with fertility or spbrd were estimated to be moderate and positive (.20 and .34, respectively); tl had correlations of -.32 and -.48 with fertility and spbrd, respectively.
- Doctoral Dissertations