Preliminary genetic parameters for nodule traits of ostrich skins were estimated to examine whether genetic improvement of skin quality is feasible. Average nodule size and density per dmÂ² were determined on five localities on each of 439 ostrich skins. An animal model with random animal and skin permanent environmental effects was fitted for the traits considered. Fixed effects were locality on skin, age, year of hatch and gender. Locality significantly influenced nodule size and nodule density. Nodule size increased with an increase in slaughter age, while nodule density decreased. Estimates for heritability were low at 0.10 for both traits, but still differed significantly from zero. The genetic correlation between nodule density and average nodule size was very high at â€“0.72. The skin permanent environmental correlation was â€“0.33, the environmental correlation â€“0.17 and the phenotypic correlation was â€“0.28. More research into genetic variation within localities and correlations with other easily measurable traits is indicated for genetic improvement of ostrich leather quality.
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