Does Sex of Littermates Affect Lifetime Productivity of Ewes?
Range Sheep Production Efficiency Research
2012 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Test the null hypothesis that sex of littermates does not affect lifetime productivity of ewes.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
An appropriate dataset will be extracted from the USDA, ARS, U.S. Sheep Experiment Station genetics database. Various statistical methods and models will be used to determine whether the sex of littermates affects the lifetime productivity of ewes. Students from Wingate University will work with scientists at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station and Wingate University, to analyze and interpret the data.
Does sex of littermates affect lifetime productivity of ewes?
Knowing the answer to this question would allow sheep producers to improve various management decisions, such as expectations for growth, selection of breeding stock, and selection of slaughter lambs. To determine whether sex of littermates affects lifetime productivity of ewes, scientists at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station (USSES) extracted a dataset from the USSES genetics database. In 2012, two students and a faculty member from Wingate University, North Carolina, spent four working days at the USSES analyzing data, with guidance from USSES scientists. The data have been used to prepare an abstract and poster for an undergraduate research colloquium at Wingate University. The project has produced meaningful research data, provided a new opportunity for students at Wingate University to participate in research, and stimulated female undergraduate students to enter graduate and medical programs. This contributes to sub-objective 2.A of the in-house project, "Maximize ewe productivity at 18 months of age through strategic nutrient intervention after weaning". We will be able to determine whether sex of littermates should be included in models for evaluating life time ewe productivity.