Challenging the selection for consistency in the rank of endurance competitions.

TitleChallenging the selection for consistency in the rank of endurance competitions.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsCervantes, I, Bodin, L, Valera, M, Molina, A, Gutiérrez, JPablo
JournalGenet Sel Evol
Date Published2020 Apr 10

BACKGROUND: Control of the environmental variability by genetic selection offers possibilities for new selection objectives for productive traits. This methodology aims at reducing heterogeneity in productive traits and has been applied to several traits and species for which animal homogeneity is profitable. In horse breeding programmes, rank in competitions is a common selection objective but has been challenging to model. In this study, the parameters of environmental variability for the rank of a horse were computed to analyse the capability of a horse to maintain the best ranking across competitions that consist of long-distance races in which the adapted physical condition of the horse is essential. The genetic component of the environmental variance for the rank in endurance competitions was evaluated, which resulted in proposing a new transformation of horse scores in competitions.

RESULTS: Homogeneous and heterogeneous variance models were compared by assaying three random effects that affect both the rank and its variability, using endurance ride data consisting of 2863 records. The pedigree relationship matrix contained 5931 animals. The rank trait was transformed into a normalized variable to prevent false estimates of the genetic correlation by inappropriate artificial skewness. The models included the number of participants in the race, sex, and age as systematic effects. The rider, the rider-horse interaction, or an environmental permanent effect were tested as random effects, in addition to additive genetic and residual effects. The models were analysed using the GSEVM program. Estimates of heritability for rank ranged from 0.12 to 0.15. The heterogeneous variance model that fitted the rider was assessed as the best model based on the deviance information criterion. Estimates of genetic variance for rank variability ranged from 0.12 to 0.13. The genetic correlation between the rank and its environmental variability was low and did not differ from 0.

CONCLUSIONS: These results offer an opportunity to select animals for canalization by reducing the variability of race results and achieving the best positions, which could be a new selection objective by weighting estimated breeding values for rank and its variability in a selection index.

Alternate JournalGenet. Sel. Evol.
PubMed ID32276582
PubMed Central IDPMC7149905