Estimates of genetic parameters for Holstein cows for test-day yield traits with a random regression cubic spline model

B. J. DeGroot, J. F. Keown, L. D. Van Vleck, S. D. Kachman

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Genetic parameters were estimated with restricted maximum likelihood for individual test-day milk, fat, and protein yields and somatic cell scores with a random regression cubic spline model. Testday records of Holstein cows that calved from 1994 through early 1999 were obtained from Dairy Records Management Systems in Raleigh, North Carolina, for the analysis. Estimates of heritability for individual test-days and estimates of genetic and phenotypic correlations between test-days were obtained from estimates of variances and covariances from the cubic spline analysis. Estimates were calculated of genetic parameters for the averages of the test days within each of the ten 30-day test intervals. The model included herd test-day, age at first calving, and bovine somatropin treatment as fixed factors. Cubic splines were fitted for the overall lactation curve and for random additive genetic and permanent environmental effects, with five predetermined knots or four intervals between days 0, 50, 135, 220, and 305. Estimates of heritability for lactation one ranged from 0.10 to 0.15, 0.06 to 0.10, 0.09 to 0.15, and 0.02 to 0.06 for test-day one to test-day 10 for milk, fat, and protein yields and somatic cell scores, respectively. Estimates of heritability were greater in lactations two and three. Estimates of heritability increased over the course of the lactation. Estimates of genetic and phenotypic correlations were smaller for test-days further apart.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)434-444
Number of pages11
JournalGenetics and Molecular Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 3 2007



  • Cubic spline
  • Genetic parameters
  • Random regression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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