Effects of coat colour genes on body measurements, heat tolerance traits and haematological parameters in West African Dwarf sheep


With 178 West African Dwarf sheep aged 1 to 3 years, a study was conducted to investigate the effects of coat colour genes on body measurements, heat tolerance traits and haematological parameters. Body measurements considered included body length, hair length, ear length, hip width, tail length, height at withers, rump height, fore cannon bone length, chest depth, heart girth and body weight. Heat tolerance traits considered were skin temperature, rectal temperature, pulse rate and respiratory rate. Blood samples were collected for the evaluation of white blood cell (WBC), red blood cell (RBC), haemoglobin (HGB), haematocrit (HCT), mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular haemoglobin (MCH), mean corpuscular haemoglobin cell (MCHC), red cell distribution width (RDW), platelets (PLT), mean platelets volume (MPV), platelets distribution width (PDW) and plateletcrits (PCT). Results showed that coat colour gene (CCG) had significant (P < 0.01) effect on rump height and tail length. Animals with black (BB) coat colour had the highest mean value for rump height (57.80 ± 1.29 cm) and tail length (22.10 ± 0.89 cm), while brown (Bb) coat colour had the least value of 53.00 ± 6.00 cm for rump height and 17.50 ± 0.50 cm for tail length. The CCG had significant (P < 0.01) effect on body temperature and pulse rate, with the grey/mouflon (Ag) colour possessing the highest body temperature (38.90°C ± 0.22°C), and Bb having the least value of 37.20°C ± 0.35°C. White/tan (Awt) had the highest pulse rate of 28.90 ± 0.66 beats/min and Bb had the least value of 20.00 ± 2.00 beats/min. The CCG had significant (P < 0.01) effect on RBC and MPV with brown (Bb) colour having the highest RBC counts (18.20 ± 0.00 L) and badgerface (Ab) having the least value (11.50 ± 0.62 L). The Bb had the highest value (5.60 ± 0.00 fL) for MPV and Ab had the least value (4.70 ± 0.15 fL). Sheep with Bb and Ab were found to withstand heat stress better than others.

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Decampos, J. , Ikeobi, C. , Olowofeso, O. , Smith, O. , Adeleke, M. , Wheto, M. , Ogunlakin, D. , A. Mohammed, A. , Sanni, T. , Ogunfuye, B. , Lawal, R. , Adenaike, A. and Amusan, S. (2013) Effects of coat colour genes on body measurements, heat tolerance traits and haematological parameters in West African Dwarf sheep. Open Journal of Genetics, 3, 280-284. doi: 10.4236/ojgen.2013.34031.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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