Indexed on: 16 Aug '06Published on: 16 Aug '06Published in: Journal of animal science
Data for the current study were obtained from a divergent selection experiment in which the selection criterion was the average serum IGF-I concentrations of 3 postweaning blood samples collected from purebred Angus calves. Multiple-trait derivative-free REML procedures were used to obtain genetic parameter estimates for IGF-I concentrations and for BW and BW gains measured from birth to the conclusion of a 140-d postweaning performance test. Included in the analysis were 2,674 animals in the A(-1) matrix, 1,761 of which had valid records for IGF-I concentrations. Direct heritability estimates +/- SE for IGF-I concentration at d 28, 42, and 56 of the postweaning period and for mean IGF-I concentrations were 0.44 +/- 0.07, 0.51 +/- 0.08, 0.42 +/- 0.07, and 0.52 +/- 0.08, respectively. Heritability estimates for maternal genetic effects ranged from 0.10 +/- 0.05 to 0.20 +/- 0.06. The proportion of total phenotypic variance due to the maternal permanent environmental effect was essentially zero for all measures of IGF-I concentrations. Genetic correlations of IGF-I concentrations with weaning and post-weaning BW ranged from 0.07 +/- 0.12 to 0.32 +/- 0.11 and generally demonstrated an increasing trend during the postweaning period. Averaged across the various measures of IGF-I, the genetic correlation of IGF-I with preweaning gain was 0.14, whereas the genetic correlation with postweaning gain was 0.29. Genetic correlations between IGF-I and BW gain were positive during all time intervals, except between weaning and the beginning of the postweaning test and from d 84 to 112 of the postweaning period. Environmental and phenotypic correlations of IGF-I with BW and BW gains were generally positive, but small. These results indicate that postweaning serum IGF-I concentration is moderately to highly heritable and has small positive genetic, environmental, and phenotypic correlations with BW other than birth weight and with pre- and postweaning gain. Therefore, if IGF-I proves to be a biological indicator of an economically important trait (e.g., efficiency of feed use for growth) in beef cattle, it should be possible to rapidly change IGF-I concentrations via selection without significantly altering live weight or rate of gain.