Human-mediated introgression of haplotypes in a modern dairy cattle breed

Qianqian Zhang*, Mario P.L. Calus, Mirte Bosse, Goutam Sahana, Mogens Sandø Lund, Bernt Guldbrandtsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Domestic animals can serve as model systems of adaptive introgression and their genomic signatures. In part, their usefulness as model systems is due to their well-known histories. Different breeding strategies such as introgression and artificial selection have generated numerous desirable phenotypes and superior performance in domestic animals. The modern Danish Red Dairy Cattle is studied as an example of an introgressed population. It originates from crossing the traditional Danish Red Dairy Cattle with the Holstein and Brown Swiss breeds, both known for high milk production. This crossing happened, among other things due to changes in the production system, to raise milk production and overall performance. The genomes of modern Danish Red Dairy Cattle are heavily influenced by regions introgressed from the Holstein and Brown Swiss breeds and under subsequent selection in the admixed population. The introgressed proportion of the genome was found to be highly variable across the genome. Haplotypes introgressed from Holstein and Brown Swiss contained or overlapped known genes affecting milk production, as well as protein and fat content (CD14, ZNF215, BCL2L12, and THRSP for Holstein origin and ITPR2, BCAT1, LAP3, and MED28 for Brown Swiss origin). Genomic regions with high introgression signals also contained genes and enriched QTL associated with calving traits, body confirmation, feed efficiency, carcass, and fertility traits. These introgressed signals with relative identity-by-descent scores larger than the median showing Holstein or Brown Swiss introgression are mostly significantly correlated with the corresponding test statistics from signatures of selection analyses in modern Danish Red Dairy Cattle. Meanwhile, the putative significant introgressed signals have a significant dependency with the putative significant signals from signatures of selection analyses. Artificial selection has played an important role in the genomic footprints of introgression in the genome of modern Danish Red Dairy Cattle. Our study on a modern cattle breed contributes to an understanding of genomic consequences of selective introgression by demonstrating the extent to which adaptive effects contribute to shape the specific genomic consequences of introgression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1305-1317
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • High-yielding cattle breeds
  • Modern dairy cattle breed
  • Selective introgression
  • Signature of selection

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