Identification of genomic regions associated with female fertility in Danish Jersey using whole genome sequence data

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Background:
Female fertility is an important trait in cattle breeding programs. In the Nordic countries selection is based on a fertility index (FTI). The fertility index is a weighted combination of four female fertility traits estimated breeding values for number of inseminations per conception (AIS), 56-day non-return rate (NRR), number of days from first to last insemination (IFL), and number of days between calving and first insemination (ICF). The objective of this study was to identify associations between sequence variants and fertility traits in Jersey cattle based on 1,225 Jersey sires from Denmark with official breeding values for female fertility traits. The association analyses were carried out in two steps: first the cattle genome was scanned for quantitative trait loci using a sire model for FTI using imputed whole genome sequence variants; second the significant quantitative trait locus regions were re-analyzed using a linear mixed model (animal model) for both FTI and its component traits AIS, NRR, IFL and ICF. The underlying traits were analyzed separately for heifers (first parity cows) and cows (later parity cows) for AIS, NRR, and IFL.
Results:
In the first step 6 QTL were detected for FTI: one QTL on each of BTA7, BTA20, BTA23, BTA25, and two QTL on BTA9 (QTL9–1 and QTL9–2). In the second step, ICF showed association with the QTL regions on BTA7, QTL9–2 QTL2 on BTA9, and BTA25, AIS for cows on BTA20 and BTA23, AIS for heifers on QTL9–2 on BTA9, IFL for cows on BTA20, BTA23 and BTA25, IFL for heifers on BTA7 and QTL9-2 on BTA9, NRR for heifers on BTA7 and BTA23, and NRR for cows on BTA23.
Conclusion:
The genome wide association study presented here revealed 6 genomic regions associated with FTI. Screening these 6 QTL regions for the underlying female fertility traits revealed that different female fertility traits showed associations with different subsets of the individual FTI QTL peaks. The result of this study contributed to a better insight into the genetic control of FTI in the Danish Jersey.
Original languageEnglish
JournalB M C Genetics
Volume16
Issue60
Number of pages9
ISSN1471-2156
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2015

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