Twinning rate in Norwegian cattle: frequency, (co)variance components, and genetic trends

J Anim Sci. 2000 Jan;78(1):15-20. doi: 10.2527/2000.78115x.


The overall twinning rate was shown to increase from .6% in the first parity to 4.0% in the sixth parity, and a positive phenotypic trend for twinning rate was observed during the time period considered (1978 to 1995). The distribution of bulls according to the average percentage of multiple births of daughters in first and second parity showed that some bulls had an extremely low twinning frequency and others exceeded the population mean by approximately six times. (Co)variance components were estimated for twinning in first and second parities using a linear sire model. The analysis included either first- and second-crop daughters (1.4 and .9 million records for first- and second-parity cows, respectively) or first-crop daughters only (.6 and .4 million records for first- and second-parity cows, respectively) from 2,043 sires. Heritability estimates were .7 to .8% in the first parity and 2.8% in the second parity. The genetic correlation between twinning in the first and second parities was approximately 1. Part of the phenotypic trend observed can be explained by a genetic trend for twinning rate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation
  • Male
  • Norway
  • Phenotype
  • Pregnancy
  • Twins, Dizygotic / genetics*
  • Twins, Dizygotic / statistics & numerical data
  • Twins, Monozygotic / genetics*
  • Twins, Monozygotic / statistics & numerical data