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Analysis of censored survival data using random regression models

  • R. F. Veerkamp (a1), S. Brotherstone (a2), B. Engel (a1) and T. H. E. Meuwissen (a1)

Abstract

Censoring of records is a problem in the prediction of breeding values for longevity, because breeding values are required before actual lifespan is known. In this study we investigated the use of random regression models to analyse survival data, because this method combines some of the advantages of a multitrait approach and the more sophisticated proportional hazards models. A model was derived for the binary representation of survival data and links with proportional hazards models and generalized linear models are shown. Variance components and breeding values were predicted using a linear approximation, including time-dependent fixed effects and random regression coefficients. Production records in lactations 1 to 5 were available on 24741 cows in the UK, all having had the opportunity to survive five lactations. The random regression model contained a linear regression on milk yield within herd (no. = 1417) by lactation number (no. = 4), Holstein percentage and year-month of calving effect (no. = 72). The additive animal genetic effects were modelled using orthogonal polynomials of order 1 to 4 with random coefficients and the error terms were fitted for each lactation separately, either correlated or not. Variance components from the full (i.e. uncensored) data set, were used to predict breeding values for survival in each lactation from both uncensored and randomly censored data. In the uncensored data, estimates of heritabilities for culling probability in each lactation ranged from 0·02 to 0·04. Breeding values for lifespan (calculated from the survival breeding values) had a range of 2·4 to 3·6 lactations and a standard deviation of 0·25. Correlations between predicted breeding values for 129 bulls, each with more than 30 daughters, from the various data sets ranged from 0·81 to 0·99 and were insensitive to the model used. It is concluded that random regression analysis models used for test-day records analysis of milk yield, might also be of use in the analysis of censored survival data.

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Analysis of censored survival data using random regression models

  • R. F. Veerkamp (a1), S. Brotherstone (a2), B. Engel (a1) and T. H. E. Meuwissen (a1)

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