A recent study in New Zealand Romneys revealed a positive genetic association between skin thickness measured at eight months of age and lamb survival from birth to weaning, which had been postulated to be due to an effect of skin thickness at birth on thermoregulation of new-born lambs. The current experiment aimed to explore whether skin thickness was a repeatable trait when measured on 9 occasions between birth and eight months of age. Starting with 100 new-born Romney lambs, skin thickness was ultrasonically measured at monthly intervals until the lambs were eight months old. The results of analysis performed using PROC CORR procedure in SAS software, showed significant (P<0.05) correlations between skin thickness at birth and the measurements taken at 6, 7, and 8 months, with Pearson’s correlation coefficient values of 0.29, 0.33, and 0.34, respectively. Therefore, skin thickness measured during 6-8 months could be considered as a low to moderate indicator of skin thickness at birth. Keywords: skin thickness, thermoregulation, lamb survival, ultrasound, correlation

Masoud Soltani-Ghombavani, Rao Dukkipati, Hugh T Blair

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume Electronic Poster Session - Biology - Growth and Development, , 333, 2018
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