Influence of population structure on estimates of direct and maternal parameters
The estimation of (co)variance components for multiple traits with maternal genetic effects was found to be influenced by population structure. Two traits in a closed breeding herd with random mating were simulated over nine generations. Population structures were simulated on the basis of different proportions of dams not having performance records (0, 0.1, 0.5, 0.8 and 0.9): three genetic correlations (−0.5, 0.0 and +0.5) between direct and maternal effects and three genetic correlations (0, 0.3 and 0.8) between two traits. Three ratios of direct to maternal genetic variances, (1:3, 1:1, 3:1), were also considered. Variance components were estimated by restricted maximum likelihood. The proportion of dams without records had an effect on the SE of direct–maternal covariance estimates when the proportion was 0.8 or 0.9 and the true correlation between direct and maternal effects was negative. The ratio of direct to maternal genetic variances influenced the SE of the (co)variance estimates more than the proportion of dams with missing records. The correlation between two traits did not have an effect on the SE of the estimates. The proportion of dams without records and the correlation between direct and maternal effects had the strongest effects on bias of estimates. The largest biases were obtained when the proportion of dams without records was high, the correlation between direct and maternal effects was positive, and the direct variance was greater than the maternal variance, as would be the situation for most growth traits in livestock. Total bias in all parameter estimates for two traits was large in the same situations. Poor population structure can affect both bias and SE of estimates of the direct–maternal genetic correlation, and can explain some of the large negative estimates often obtained.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Centre for Genetic Improvement of Livestock, Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph Guelph, ON, Canada 2: Department of Animal & Aquaculture Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB), Aas, Norway
Publication date: April 1, 2008