Diallel Crossing of Three Rabbit Breeds in Northern Guinea Savannah Zone of Nigeria: 1. Genetic Parameter Estimates for Litter Traits
Data on litter traits of 202 progeny from purebred population of Chinchilla (CHC), ew Zealand White (ZW) and California White (CAW) breeds of rabbits were used to estimate heritability and repeatability for litter traits. The litter traits considered were gestation length (GL), litter size (LS) and litter weight (LW) from birth to weaning. The variance components used for estimation of heritability were obtained through VARCOMP Procedure of SAS. Repeated records of dams were used to estimate repeatability. Heritability estimates for litter size from birth to weaning were high (0.49–0.64) in the CHC breed, while the estimates for litter weight were moderate to high (0.34–0.52). In the ZW and CAW breeds, moderate to high heritability estimates for litter size and litter weight (0.33–0.46 and 0.28–0.41); (0.31–0.42 and 0.32–0.41) were observed from birth to weaning. Estimates of repeatability for all traits observed in this study for all breeds were moderate to high. Traits with moderate to high repeatability observed in this study imply that great reliability can be put on selection or culling of does and bucks for such trait, based on one or two records. Lowly heritable traits obtained can be improved upon by crossbreeding. Moderately heritable traits on the other hand could be improved upon by combining pedigree and individual selection. While individual selection can be adopted to improve the highly heritable characters observed.
Keywords: Diallel cross, Genetic parameters, Rabbits, Litter traits, Zaria
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