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National Cattle Evaluation (NCE):  Programs of cattle evaluation conducted by breed associations to compute estimated genetic merit of a population of animals. Carefully conducted national cattle evaluation programs give unbiased estimates of expected progeny differences (EPD's). Cattle evaluations are based on field data and rely on information from the individual animal, relatives, and progeny to calculate EPD's. Nonadditive gene effects:  Effects of specific gene pairs or combinations. Nonadditive gene effects occur when the heterozygous genotype is not intermediate in phenotypic value to the two homozygous genotypes. Undesirable homozygous gene combinations lead to inbreeding depression in inbred populations; whereas favorable heterozygous gene combinations lead to heterosis in outbred herds. Nucleotide:  The subunit of DNA composed of a five carbon sugar, one of four nitrogenous bases (adenine, thymine, cytosine, or guanine), and a phosphate group. Number of contemporaries:  The number of animals of similar breed, sex, and age against which an animal was compared in performance tests. The greater the number of contemporaries, the greater the accuracy of comparisons. Optimum level of performance:  The most profitable or favorable ranges in levels of performance for the economically important traits in a given management system and environment. For example, although many cows produce too little milk, in every management system there is a point beyond which higher levels of milk production will reduce fertility and decrease profit. Outbreeding (outcrossing):  Mating together of animals that are not closely related. Mild outbreeding is illustrated by mating cows to a sire of their own breed but who is not closely related to them. Such outcrossing may widen the genetic base in a herd and reduce inbreeding accumulation. A higher level of outcrossing is illustrated by crossing two Bos taurus breeds. This generally would result in beneficial heterosis for economically important traits. Ovulation:  Release of the female germ cell (egg or ovum) by the ovary. Cows usually ovulate several hours (up to 15 hours) after the end of estrus or standing heat.
Source: Beef Improvement Federation
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