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Expectation and variance of genetic gain in open and closed nucleus and progeny testing schemes

  • T. H. E. Meuwissen (a1)

Abstract

Open and closed nucleus and conventional and modern progeny testing schemes were compared for expectation and variance of genetic gain. Generation intervals were optimized, with minimum values of 2 and 6 years (progeny test results available) for males in nucleus and progeny testing schemes, respectively. Females had a minimum generation interval of 2 years, except in the conventional progeny testing schemes, which had a minimum of 4 years (one individual record available). Apart from the generation intervals and the progeny test, open nucleus and progeny testing schemes were identical, since ‘nucleus females’ are also born in progeny testing schemes, being full-sibs of the young bulls and dispersed over commercial herds. The number of nucleus sires (bull sires) selected was varied between four and 32. Selection was for milk production.

A deterministic model was used, that accounted for variance reduction due to selection and the effects of finite size and family structure on the selection differentials. Prediction of the variance of the selection response accounted for selection of full- and paternal half-sibs.

Closed nucleus schemes gave a factor 0·03, 0·13 and 0·19 larger response rates than open nucleus and modern and conventional progeny testing schemes, respectively. Reduction of genetic variance of open nucleus schemes was larger than that of closed nucleus schemes, which caused the slightly higher response rates of closed nucleus schemes. Standard deviations of selection responses of closed nucleus schemes were a factor 0·46, 0·79 and 0·86 larger, respectively.

Preference for the schemes was assessed using a quadratic utility function expressing risk and inbreeding aversion. The increase in genetic gain due to shortening of generation intervals more than compensated for its increased variance. Whether the increased genetic gain due to closing the nucleus compensated for its increased variance depended on the amount of risk aversion. Selection of four sires and eight to 16 sires had the highest utility in progeny testing and nucleus schemes, respectively.

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Expectation and variance of genetic gain in open and closed nucleus and progeny testing schemes

  • T. H. E. Meuwissen (a1)

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