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Quantitative trait loci markers derived from whole genome sequence data increases the reliability of genomic prediction

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This study investigated the effect on the reliability of genomic prediction when a small number of significant variants from single marker analysis based on whole genome sequence data were added to the regular 54k single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array data. The extra markers were selected with the aim of augmenting the custom low-density Illumina BovineLD SNP chip (San Diego, CA) used in the Nordic countries. The single-marker analysis was done breed-wise on all 16 index traits included in the breeding goals for Nordic Holstein, Danish Jersey, and Nordic Red cattle plus the total merit index itself. Depending on the trait’s economic weight, 15, 10, or 5 quantitative trait loci (QTL) were selected per trait per breed and 3 to 5 markers were selected to tag each QTL. After removing duplicate markers (same marker selected for more than one trait or breed) and filtering for high pairwise linkage disequilibrium and assaying performance on the array, a total of 1,623 QTL markers were selected for inclusion on the custom chip. Genomic prediction analyses were performed for Nordic and French Holstein and Nordic Red animals using either a genomic BLUP or a Bayesian variable selection model. When using the genomic BLUP model including the QTL markers in the analysis, reliability was increased by up to 4 percentage points for production traits in Nordic Holstein animals, up to 3 percentage points for Nordic Reds, and up to 5 percentage points for French Holstein. Smaller gains of up to 1 percentage point was observed for mastitis, but only a 0.5 percentage point increase was seen for fertility. When using a Bayesian model accuracies were generally higher with only 54k data compared with the genomic BLUP approach, but increases in reliability were relatively smaller when QTL markers were included. Results from this study indicate that the reliability of genomic prediction can be increased by including markers significant in genome-wide association studies on whole genome sequence data alongside the 54k SNP set.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Pages (from-to)4107-4116
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

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