Sources of sire-specific genetic variance for birth and weaning weight in Bruna dels Pirineus beef calves

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This research investigated two sources of sire-specific genetic effects on the birth weight (BWT) and weaning weight (WWT) of Bruna dels Pirineus beef calves. More specifically, we focused on the influence of genes located in the non-autosomal region of the Y chromosome and the contribution of paternal imprinting. Our analyses were performed on 8130 BWT and 1245 WWT records from 12 and 2 purebred herds, respectively, they being collected between years 1986 and 2010. All animals included in the study were registered in the Yield Recording Scheme of the Bruna dels Pirineus breed. Both BWT and WWT were analyzed using a univariate linear animal model, and the relevance of paternal imprinting and Y chromosome-linked effects were checked by the deviance information criterion (DIC). In addition to sire-specific and direct genetic effects, our model accounted for random permanent effects (dam and herd-year-season) and three systematic sources of variation, that is, sex of the calf (male or female), age of the dam at calving (six levels) and birth type (single or twin). Both weight traits evidenced remarkable effects from the Y chromosome, whereas paternal imprinting was only revealed in WWT. Note that differences in DIC between the preferred model and the remaining ones exceed 39 000 and 2 800 000 DIC units for BWT and WWT, respectively. It is important to highlight that Y chromosome accounted for ~2% and ~6% of the total phenotypic variance for BWT and WWT, respectively, and paternal imprinting accounted for ~13% of the phenotypic variance for WWT. These results revealed two relevant sources of sire-specific genetic variability with potential contributions to the current breeding scheme of the Bruna dels Pirineus beef cattle breed; moreover, these sire-specific effects could be included in other beef cattle breeding programs or, at least, they must be considered and appropriately analyzed. © Copyright © The Animal Consortium 2012.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1931-1938
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012


  • Birth weight
  • Bruna dels Pirineus
  • Sire-specific genetic variance
  • Weaning weight


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