Macciotta, Nicolò Pietro Paolo and Vicario, Daniele and Cappio Borlino, Aldo (2006) Use of multivariate analysis to extract latent variables related to level of production and lactation persistency in dairy cattle. Journal of Dairy Science, Vol. 89 (8), p. 3188-3194. eISSN 1525-3198. Article.
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Multivariate factor analysis and principal component analysis were used to decompose the correlation matrix of test-day milk yields of 48,374 lactations of 21,721 Italian Simmental cows. Two common latent factors related to level of production in early lactation and lactation persistency, and 2 principal components associated with the whole lactation yield and persistency were obtained. Factor and principal component scores were treated as new quantitative phenotypes related to prominent features of lactation curve shape. Genetic parameters were estimated by univariate and bivariate animal models. Estimates of heritability were moderately low for both latent factors (0.13 for persistency and yield early in lactation). Heritabilities of the principal component related to total lactation yield and 305-d yield were similar (0.19 and 0.20, respectively). Finally, heritability was quite low for the principal component related to lactation persistency (0.07). Repeatabilities between lactations were about 0.27 for both latent factors, around 0.4 for the first principal component and 305-d yield, and 0.11 for the second principal component. Moderate genetic correlation among common factors (0.26) and their high genetic correlation with total lactation yield (>0.60) suggest that selection can be used to change the shape of lactation curve as well as improve yield. Scores of the second principal component can be used to genetically improve persistency while maintaining constant total lactation yield.
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