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Discussion on Research Summary: Hereditability of Behavioral Traits

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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
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Username: dro

Post Number: 19837
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Monday, Jan 14, 2008 - 8:28 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Though not a surprise to most breeders here is work that supports the idea that behavior is hereditable. Noting the response of the horse to 4 aspects of examination I presume they compared them to other horses with the same parentage and found correlations that led thme to their conclusions.
DrO

J Anim Breed Genet. 2007 Aug;124(4):185-91.
Estimation of heritability and genetic correlation for behavioural responses by Gibbs sampling in the Thoroughbred racehorse.

Oki H, Kusunose R, Nakaoka H, Nishiura A, Miyake T, Sasaki Y. Japan Racing Association, Equine Research Institute, Tokami-cho, Utsunomiya City, Tochigi, Japan.

Genetic variation of the behaviour of racehorses is one of the major concerns for racehorse breeders. In this study, the heritabilities of behavioural responses to the inspections of conjunctiva, auscultation and blood sampling and the genetic correlations among them were estimated in the Thoroughbred racehorse. The estimation was done with Bayesian analysis with Gibbs sampling based on the univariate or bivariate threshold animal models. The behavioural responses were scored with four categories at the first entrance quarantine in Miho Training Center of Japan Racing Association from 1993 to 1995. The behavioural responses were treated as categorical or binary traits, with both showing similar results. The estimated heritabilities were in the range of 0.23-0.28, suggesting a genetic component in the variation on these traits. The estimated genetic correlations among the traits were very high (approximately 0.9), suggesting that these behavioural responses may be measures of the same trait. Because of the high genetic correlations, repeatability threshold model was applied assuming the responses to be a genetically identical trait measured with three different tests. The estimated heritabilities (approximately 0.23) were at the lower bound of the former estimates. The revealed high repeatabilities (0.97-0.98) suggest a strong contribution of the individual temperament on the behaviour of racehorses.
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Imogen Bertin
Member
Username: imogen

Post Number: 1059
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Monday, Jan 14, 2008 - 5:57 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

For the past two years the Irish Horse Board stallion book (see http://www.ihb.ie )has included an assessment of temperament for sires.

I think this is a very useful development of something that all the old-timers already knew - temperament can be thrown to offspring, good and bad.

Imogen
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