Quantitative Trait Loci Affecting Calving Traits in Danish Holstein Cattle

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    The objectives of this study were 1) to detect quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting direct and maternal calving traits at first calving in the Danish Holstein population, 2) to distinguish between pleiotropic and linked QTL for chromosome regions affecting more than one trait, and 3) to detect QTL affecting stillbirth and calving difficulties but not calf size that could be used in selection to improve calving performance. Progeny-tested sons (2,297) were genotyped for 356 microsatellites in 34 grandsire families on all 29 autosomes. A total of 27 significant QTL on 17 chromosomes were detected using a between-families linear regression model. For the direct calving traits, 4 QTL significantly affected calving difficulty, 5 QTL affected stillbirth, and 7 QTL affected calf size subjectively assessed by the farmer as a categorical trait. When the maternal components of the same traits were tested, there were significant effects of 3 QTL on calving difficulty, 6 QTL on stillbirth, and 2 QTL on calf size. The variance component mapping approach was used to estimate the relative posterior probability of linkage and pleiotropic models. The most probable model indicated a pleiotropic QTL on chromosome 12 and 25 and a linked QTL on chromosome 7 and 26. Chromosome 18 seemed to harbor a QTL with a pleiotropic effect on the direct calving traits and linked to maternal stillbirth. Markers on chromosomes 3, 4, 7, 10, 12, 18, 21, 24, 26, and 28 can be used to select new breeding candidates to produce daughters with more efficient calving performance
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Dairy Science
    Pages (from-to)2098-2105
    Publication statusPublished - May 2008


    • quantitative trait locus
    • calving difficulty
    • stillbirth
    • Bos taurus


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