ISSN: 0041-3216 (Online), 0041-3216 (Print)
Volume 78 Number 2
Effects of coat colour and wattle genes on body measurement traits in the West African Dwarf sheep. (118)
A study was conducted to assess the importance of coat colour and incidence of wattles in the body dimensions of the West African Dwarf (WAD) sheep reared extensively in south-western Nigeria. White sheep had wider shoulders than the black sheep and black sheep and brown sheep with white markings. Least-squares means were 13.62 cm for the white sheep, 13.22 cm for the black sheep, and 12.77 cm for the black-brown sheep with white markings. This trend was repeated for most traits studied although relative values were not significantly different. Incidence of 2, 1, or 0 wattles significantly influenced body length, heart girth, height at withers, shoulder width, tail length, abdominal circumference, leg length, and heart depth. Body length averaged 54.39 cm, 52.33 cm, and 52.07 cm for the 2-, 1-, or 0-wattle sheep, respectively. The frequencies of the alleles at the colour locus were calculated to be 0.28 for the A allele responsible for the dominant white colour in the breed, and 0.72 for the self-coloured allele (Aa). The frequency of the B allele at the B locus controlling the solid black colour was estimated as 0.61. At the S locus with markings, the s allele was estimated to have a frequency of 0.76 while the S allele had a frequency of 0.24. The gene for wattle was estimated to have a frequency of 0.39.
Keywords: Colour; Wattles; Body dimensions; West African Dwarf sheep