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Effect of sire mating patterns on future genetic merit and inbreeding in a closed beef cattle population

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Alternative breeding strategies were simulated based on the population structure of the Tajima strain of Japanese Black cattle. An analysis of the population structure revealed that some sires up to 20 years of age have been used in Tajima. In addition, 95% of newborn calves were the progeny of only 20 sires, and their mating frequencies were significantly skewed. The current average inbreeding coefficient and founder genome equivalents of the strain were estimated to be 0.199 and 2.25, respectively. Average inbreeding coefficient is expected to reach 0.394 within 27 years. Thus, different breeding strategies were assessed for their effect on the level of inbreeding and average genetic merit. We compared strategies that (1) halve the sire service period, (2) double the number of mating sires and (3) lower the skewed sire mating frequency and optimize the frequency for weighted genetic merit and diversity. Reducing the service period yielded a 7.0–12.0% reduction in the rate of inbreeding while maintaining almost the same genetic gain. Increasing the number of sires resulted in a 19.3–21.3% reduction in inbreeding with a corresponding 1.6–8.4% reduction in gain. The rates of inbreeding from the optimized strategies decreased as the weight on genetic diversity increased. However, a strategy that emphasized only genetic gain yielded lower gain than other strategies because the strategy allowed only one sire to mate, resulting in reduced genetic variance and low accuracy of genetic evaluation. In contrast, a strategy with no emphasis on genetic gain when determining mating frequency resulted in reductions of 16.0% and 63.2% in genetic gain and inbreeding, respectively. The strategies examined here are easily applicable and can be expected to reduce immediate loss of genetic diversity.
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Keywords: Beef cattle; genetic merit; inbreeding; mating frequency; number of sires; service period; simulation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Food Resources Education and Research Center, Faculty of Agriculture, Kobe University, Kasai, Japan 2: Graduate School of Science and Technology, Kobe University, Kobe, Japan 3: Hyogo Prefectural Institute of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Asago, Japan 4: Wagyu Registry Association, Kyoto, Japan 5: Faculty of Agriculture, Kobe University, Kobe, Japan

Publication date: April 1, 2007

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