Genome-wide association study for milk infrared wavenumbers

Qiuyu Wang, Henk Bovenhuis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Individual wavenumbers of the infrared (IR) spectra of bovine milk have been shown to be moderately to highly heritable. The objective of this study was to identify genomic regions associated with individual milk IR wavenumbers. This is expected to provide information about the genetic background of milk composition and give insight in the relation between IR wavenumbers and milk components. For this purpose, a genome-wide association study was performed for a selected set of 50 individual IR wavenumbers measured on 1,748 Dutch Holstein cows. Significant associations were detected for 28 of the 50 wavenumbers. In total, 24 genomic regions distributed over 16 bovine chromosomes were identified. Major genomic regions associated with milk IR wavenumbers were identified on chromosomes 1, 5, 6, 14, 19, and 20. Most of these regions also showed significant associations with fat, protein, or lactose percentage. However, we also identified some new regions that were not associated with any one of these routinely collected milk composition traits. On chromosome 1, we identified 2 new genomic regions and hypothesized that they are related to variation in milk phosphorus content and orotic acid, respectively. On chromosome 20, we identified a new genomic region that seems to be related to citric acid. Identification of genomic regions associated with milk phosphorus content, orotic acid, and citric acid suggest that the milk IR spectra contain direct information on these milk components. Consequently milk IR analyses probably can be used to predict these milk components, which have low concentrations in milk; this can lead to novel applications of milk IR spectroscopy for dairy cattle breeding and herd management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2260-2272
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number3
Early online date2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • Bovine milk
  • Genome-wide association study
  • Infrared wavenumbers

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