Genome-wide association studies for heat stress response in Bos taurus × Bos indicus crossbred cattle

Pamela I. Otto, Simone E.F. Guimarães, Lucas L. Verardo, Ana Luísa S. Azevedo, Jeremie Vandenplas, Claudia A. Sevillano, Daniele B.D. Marques, Maria de Fatima A. Pires, Célio de Freitas, R.S. Verneque, Marta Fonseca Martins, João Cláudio C. Panetto, Wanessa A. Carvalho, Diego O.R. Gobo, Marcos Vinícius G.B. da Silva, Marco A. Machado*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Heat stress is an important issue in the global dairy industry. In tropical areas, an alternative to overcome heat stress is the use of crossbred animals or synthetic breeds, such as the Girolando. In this study, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and post-GWAS analyses for heat stress in an experimental Gir × Holstein F2 population. Rectal temperature (RT) was measured in heat-stressed F2 animals, and the variation between 2 consecutive RT measurements (ΔRT) was used as the dependent variable. Illumina BovineSNP50v1 BeadChip (Illumina Inc., San Diego, CA) and single-SNP approach were used for GWAS. Post-GWAS analyses were performed by gene ontology terms enrichment and gene-transcription factor (TF) networks, generated from enriched TF. The breed origin of marker alleles in the F2 population was assigned using the breed of origin of alleles (BOA) approach. Heritability and repeatability estimates (± standard error) for ΔRT were 0.13 ± 0.08 and 0.29 ± 0.06, respectively. Association analysis revealed 6 SNP significantly associated with ΔRT. Genes involved with biological processes in response to heat stress effects (LIF, OSM, TXNRD2, and DGCR8) were identified as putative candidate genes. After performing the BOA approach, the 10% of F2 animals with the lowest breeding values for ΔRT were classified as low-ΔRT, and the 10% with the highest breeding values for ΔRT were classified as high-ΔRT. On average, 49.4% of low-ΔRT animals had 2 alleles from the Holstein breed (HH), and 39% had both alleles from the Gir breed (GG). In high-ΔRT animals, the average proportion of animals for HH and GG were 1.4 and 50.2%, respectively. This study allowed the identification of candidate genes for ΔRT in Gir × Holstein crossbred animals. According to the BOA approach, Holstein breed alleles could be associated with better response to heat stress effects, which could be explained by the fact that Holstein animals are more affected by heat stress than Gir animals and thus require a genetic architecture to defend the body from the deleterious effects of heat stress. Future studies can provide further knowledge to uncover the genetic architecture underlying heat stress in crossbred cattle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8148-8158
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number9
Early online date3 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


  • crossbred cattle
  • gene network
  • heat stress
  • post-GWAS analyses


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