Estimation of direct and maternal effects on body weight in Mehraban sheep using random regression models
Abstract. In the present study the growth data of Mehraban sheep were used to estimate direct and maternal additive genetic effects together with direct and maternal permanent environmental effects on body weight from birth to 270 days of age using random regression models. The fixed effects of the model were age of dam, type of birth and contemporary groups. Animal, dam, animal and maternal permanent environmental effects were considered as random effects. The models were fitted to the data using Legendre polynomials for age of lambs. Changes in residual (measurement error) variance with age were modeled by a variance function. Direct heritability estimates for the later ages with the least records tended to be overestimated, particularly heritability beyond 180 days. Maternal heritability estimates increased after birth to a maximum around 120 days of age and decreased thereafter. The results showed that covariance between weights of lambs for a considerable range of ages can be modelled properly using random regression.