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Application of multivariate principal component analysis to morphological characterization of indigenous goats in Southern Nigeria

DOI: 10.2478/v10014-011-0026-4

Keywords: goats, autochthonous breeds, body traits, multivariate analysis, Nigeria

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Phenotypic variation present in a population arises due to genotypic and environmental effects, and the magnitude of phenotypic variability differs under different environmental conditions, therefore, the purpose of this study was to objectively describe the linear type traits of extensively managed mature indigenous goats of Southern Nigeria and to predict body weight from their orthogonal shape characters using principal component analysis. Body weight and four body measurements namely, height at withers, neck length, body length and heart girth were measured in 265 randomly selected West African Dwarf (WAD) and Red Sokoto (RS) goats of both sexes. RS goats had significantly (P < 0.05) higher morphological traits compared to their WAD counterparts. Sexual dimorphism was observed in all the traits with higher values recorded for males. Phenotypic correlations among body weight and biometric traits were positive and highly significant (r = 0.76-0.91 versus 0.82-0.97 and 0.66-0.94 versus 0.83-0.91 for WAD and RS female and male goats, respectively). In the varimax rotated principal component factor analysis, two factors were extracted for each sex of the two breeds, although with varying degrees of factor loadings. The principal component based regression models, which are preferable for selecting animals for optimal balance, accounted for 89.00 and 96.00% as well as 81.00 and 91.00% of the variation in body weight of female and male WAD and RS goats, respectively. The information obtained could be useful in designing appropriate management, selection and breeding programmes for utilization of goat genetic resources.


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