• estimation;
  • gamete;
  • genetic variation;
  • relationship matrix;
  • variance component


Parent-of-origin effects arise when an individual’s genes are modified during gametogenesis. Commonly known as imprinting, affected genes may be completely, or partially, suppressed. Individual loci in mice, human and sheep are known to be imprinted, and the quantitative effects of imprinted loci have been found for many carcass traits in cattle and pigs. Differentiating between five types of loci – direct additive loci and partially and completely imprinted loci by sires and dams – is not possible as their effects are confounded such that only three of seven parameters can be estimated. An analysis of Australian Hereford and Angus heifers and bulls for four ultrasonic measures of body composition – eye muscle area, rib fat, rump fat and intramuscular fat per cent – found parent-of-origin effects for both parents in most trait-gender data sets and that they were an average of 28% of the total genetic variance. No parent-of-origin effects were found for Hereford bull intramuscular fat per cent and the maternal parent-of-origin effects were not significant for Angus Heifer eye muscle area.