Last update: August 18, 2011 08:18:00 AM E-mail Print


Genetic and phenotypic parameter estimates of production traits of Merino sheep in an arid environment

G.J. Erasmus*, A.O. de Lange, G.J. Delport and J.J. Olivier

* Department of Animal Science, University of the Orange Free State, P.O. Box 339, Bloemfontein 9300, Republic of South Africa 


Genetic and phenotypic parameters were estimated in the control line of the Klerefontein Merino sheep selection experiment. The heritability estimates of 0,247 for body mass, 0,229 for clean fleece mass and 0,369 for fibre diameter are generally lower than other published estimates. Henderson's Method 3 and REML on a sire model produced almost identical estimates. Phenotypic, environmental and genetic correlation between the three traits was all positive low. As with many other published results, genetic correlations were characterized by large standard errors of estimation. The limitations of traditional estimators are briefly discussed.



South African journal of Animal Science 20 (1)