Microbiability – new insights into (genetic) modelling methane emissions of cattle

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

Methane produced by methanogenic archaea in ruminants contributes significantly to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Inter-individual differences in methane (CH4) emission are affected by the individual’s genetics, environment (primarily feed and fodder) and also its rumen microbiome. Unlike other economic traits, controlling microbial CH4 production in dairy cattle through genetic selection strategies is in formative stages. Here we adapt existing quantitative methods to quantify the microbial contribution to CH4 emission and investigate the host genetics by microbiome interaction. The heritability (h2) of CH4 emissions was 0.19 ± 0.09 and the estimated proportion of rumen microbial variation to phenotypic variation (microbiability) was 0.15 ± 0.08. Estimating both effects jointly revealed a small interaction between the two sources of information. The moderate correlation (0.32) between estimates of individual’s genetic component and rumen microbial components confirmed this interaction. However, the correlation between an index of CH4 estimated breeding values (EBVS) with a combined index of CH4 EBVS and microbial values
was 0.87, demonstrating that naivety of the rumen microbiome does not result in sever reranking of animals for this trait.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, 2018 : Volume Challenges - Environmental
Number of pages5
Publication year2018
Article number405
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventThe 11th World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production - Aotea Centre, Auckland 1010, Auckland, New Zealand
Duration: 11 Feb 201816 Feb 2018
Conference number: 11


ConferenceThe 11th World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production
LocationAotea Centre, Auckland 1010
LandNew Zealand

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