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Genomic selection for methane emission

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  • Yvette de Haas, Animal Breeding and Genomics Centre, Wageningen UR Livestock Research, Netherlands
  • Jennie E Pryce, Dept. of Environment and Primary Industries & Dairy Futures CRC, Australia
  • Eileen Wall, United Kingdom
  • S McParland, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Ireland
  • Coralia Manzanilla-Pech, Netherlands
  • Gareth Difford
  • ,
  • Jan Lassen
Climate change is a growing area of international concern,
and it is well established that the release of greenhouse gases
(GHG) is a contributing factor. Of the various GHG produced
by ruminants, enteric methane (CH4
) is the most important
contributor. One mitigation strategy is to reduce methane emission
through genetic selection. Our first attempt used beef cattle
and a GWAS to identify genes associated with several CH4
traits in Angus beef cattle. The Angus population consisted of
1020 animals with phenotypes on methane production (MeP),
dry matter intake (DMI), and weight (WT). Additionally, two
new methane traits: residual genetic methane (RGM) and residual
phenotypic methane (RPM) were calculated by adjusting
for DMI and WT. Animals were genotyped using the
800k Illumina Bovine HD Array. Estimated heritabilities were
0.30, 0.19 and 0.15 for MeP, RGM and RPM respectively,
and estimated genetic correlations of MeP with DMI and WT
were 0.83 and 0.80, respectively. Strong associations with MeP
were found on chromosomes 4, 12, 14, 19, and 30. We have
recently tried another approach in dairy cattle, where we aimed
to enlarge the reference population for genomic selection by
combining data on methane emissions in dairy cattle using
data from 5 countries (Australia, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands
and UK). The total dataset consists of 3060 dairy cows,
of which most were genotyped, but with various kinds of SNP
chips. We ended up with a uniform set of SNPs for each cow.
Even though three different types of measurement equipment
(laser, sniffer and SF6
) and protocols (measuring for 3 d, 1 wk,
multiple weeks) were used, these data will be analyzed jointly
to establish genetic and genomic parameters for enteric methane.
The average methane production was 448 g/d in Australia
(354 cows); 554 g/d in Denmark (1769 cows); 381 g/d in IRL
(260 cows); 549 g/d in NL (457 cows); and 325 g/d in UK (216
cows). This clearly shows that the populations and diets are
different in addition to the equipment and protocol. Therefore,
a multi-trait approach will be used in the analysis. Following
the experiences of a similar project (gDMI), it is expected that
each country will benefit for contributing to an international reference set with increased accuracies of the estimates.
Key Words: esnteric methane, genomic selection,
international collaboration
doi: 10.2527/jam2016-0407
Original languageEnglish
Article number0407
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issuesupplement 5
Pages (from-to)197-198
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2016

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