The Importance of Maternal Lineage on Milk Yield Traits of Dairy Cattle

M. M. Schutz, A. E. Freeman, D. C. Beitz, J. E. Mayfield

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53 Scopus citations


Maternal lineage effects on milk yield traits, considered indicative of cytoplasmic inheritance, were evaluated with animal models. Cattle were from a selection experiment begun in 1968. Maternal pedigrees were traced to the first female member in the Holstein-Friesian Herdbook; purchased cows entering the herd, considered foundation females, were assigned to maternal lineage groups. All models accounted for year-season of calving, parity, and selection lines. Maternal lineage effects were included in a repeated records model with cow effects and preadjustment for sire and maternal grandsire transmitting abilities. Maternal lineage accounted for 5.2, 4.1, and 10.5% of phenotypic variation of preadjusted records of milk yield, fat yield, and fat percentage, respectively. Maternal lineage was evaluated as a fixed effect in an animal model including random animal and permanent environmental effects. Maternal lineage significantly affected fat percentage but not milk yield. Maternal genetic (nuclear) effects and their covariance with additive animal effects did not significantly account for additional variation nor did they influence maternal lineage estimates. Maternal lineage affected calculated net energy of milk but was not important for SNF yield or concentration. Maternal lineage influenced fat percentage, energy concentration, and, to a lesser extent, fat yield in milk of dairy cattle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1331-1341
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors express appreciation to National Association of Animal Breeders and 21st Century Genetics Cooperative for partial financial support. K. Meyer is acknowledged for kindly providing computer programs. Helpful comments from D. A. Harville and anony-mous reviewers are greatly appreciated.


  • TV
  • cytoplasmic inheritance
  • maternal lineages
  • mature equivalent fat yield
  • mature equivalent milk yield
  • mitochondrial DNA
  • mitochondrial inheritance
  • mtDNA
  • transmitting value
  • variance components


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