Heterogeneity of Variances for Carcass Traits by Percentage Brahman Inheritance

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Heterogeneity of carcass trait variances due to level of Brahman inheritance was investigated using records from straightbred and crossbred steers produced from 1970 to 1988 (n = 1,530). Angus, Brahman, Charolais, and Hereford sires were mated to straightbred and crossbred cows to produce straightbred, F1, back-cross, three-breed cross, and two-, three-, and four-breed rotational crossbred steers in four non-overlapping generations. At weaning (mean age = 220 d), steers were randomly assigned within breed group directly to the feedlot for 200 d, or to a backgrounding and stocker phase before feeding. Stocker steers were fed from 70 to 100 d in generations 1 and 2 and from 60 to 120 d in generations 3 and 4. Carcass traits included hot carcass weight, subcutaneous fat thickness and longissimus muscle area at the 12-13th rib interface, carcass weight-adjusted longissimus muscle area, USDA yield grade, estimated total lean yield, marbling score, and Warner-Bratzler shear force. Steers were classified as either high Brahman (50 to 100% Brahman), moderate Brahman (25 to 49% Brahman), or low Brahman (0 to 24% Brahman) inheritance. Two types of animal models were fit with regard to level of Brahman inheritance. One model assumed similar variances between pairs of Brahman inheritance groups, and the second model assumed different variances between pairs of Brahman inheritance groups. Fixed sources of variation in both models included direct and maternal additive and nonadditive breed effects, year of birth, and slaughter age. Variances were estimated using derivative free REML procedures. Likelihood ratio tests were used to compare models. The model accounting for heterogenous variances had a greater likelihood (P < .001) than the model assuming homogeneous variances for hot carcass weight, longissimus muscle area, weight-adjusted longissimus muscle area, total lean yield, and Warner-Bratzler shear force, indicating improved fit with percentage Brahman inheritance considered as a source of heterogeneity of variance. Genetic covariances estimated from the model accounting for heterogeneous variances resulted in genetic correlations of or near unity. These results suggest that different genetic values be considered for genetic evaluation of carcass yield and shear force traits from steers with different degrees of Brahman inheritance.

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Journal of Animal Science

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