Cubic-spline interpolation to estimate effects of inbreeding on milk yield in first lactation Holstein cows.

Research paper by Makram J MJ Geha, Jeffrey F JF Keown, L Dale LD Van Vleck

Indexed on: 21 Sep '11Published on: 21 Sep '11Published in: Genetics and molecular biology


Milk yield records (305d, 2X, actual milk yield) of 123,639 registered first lactation Holstein cows were used to compare linear regression (y = β(0) + β(1)X + e), quadratic regression, (y = β(0) + β(1)X + β(2)X(2) + e) cubic regression (y = β(0) + β(1)X + β(2)X(2) + β(3)X(3) +e) and fixed factor models, with cubic-spline interpolation models, for estimating the effects of inbreeding on milk yield. Ten animal models, all with herd-year-season of calving as fixed effect, were compared using the Akaike corrected-Information Criterion (AICc). The cubic-spline interpolation model with seven knots had the lowest AICc, whereas for all those labeled as "traditional", AICc was higher than the best model. Results from fitting inbreeding using a cubic-spline with seven knots were compared to results from fitting inbreeding as a linear covariate or as a fixed factor with seven levels. Estimates of inbreeding effects were not significantly different between the cubic-spline model and the fixed factor model, but were significantly different from the linear regression model. Milk yield decreased significantly at inbreeding levels greater than 9%. Variance component estimates were similar for the three models. Ranking of the top 100 sires with daughter records remained unaffected by the model used.