Genetic parameters of insect bite hypersensitivity in Dutch Friesian broodmares

A. Schurink, B.J. Ducro, H.C.M. Heuven, J.A.M. van Arendonk

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Insect bite hypersensitivity (IBH) is a seasonal allergic skin disease in horses caused by bites of certain Culicoides spp. The aim of our study was to investigate the maternal effect on IBH and to estimate the heritability and repeatability of IBH in the Dutch Friesian horse population. Data consisted of 3,453 Dutch Friesian broodmares with 3,763 visual observations on IBH clinical symptoms scored by 12 inspectors during organized foal inspections in 2004 and 2008. Nine percent of the mares (n = 310) were scored in both years. Mares descended from 144 sires and 2,554 dams and 26.2% of the dams (n = 669) had more than 1 offspring in the data set (range: 2 to 6). Insect bite hypersensitivity was analyzed as a binary trait with a threshold animal model with and without a maternal effect, using a Bayesian approach. Observed IBH prevalence in Dutch Friesian broodmare population was 18.2%. Heritability on the liability scale was 0.16 (SD = 0.06); heritability on the observed scale was 0.07; and repeatability was 0.89 (SD = 0.03). Maternal effect was 0.17 (SD = 0.06) and significantly differed from zero, although the animal model without a maternal effect fitted the data better. These results show that genetic and permanent environmental factors affect IBH in Dutch Friesian horses. The dam affected the IBH development of her offspring through an additive genetic influence but also by being part of their rearing environment
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1286-1293
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Animal Science
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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