Makeup of the genetic correlation between milk production traits using genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism information

R. van Binsbergen, R.F. Veerkamp, M.P.L. Calus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The correlated responses between traits may differ depending on the makeup of genetic covariances, and may differ from the predictions of polygenic covariances Therefore, the objective of the present study was to investigate the makeup of the genetic covariances between the well-studied traits: milk yield, fat yield, protein yield, and their percentages in more detail. Phenotypic records of 1,737 heifers of research farms in 4 different countries were used after homogenizing and adjusting for management effects. All cows had a genotype for 37,590 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP). A Bayesian stochastic search variable selection model was used to estimate the SNP effects for each trait. About 0.5 to 1.0% of the SNP had a significant effect on 1 or more traits; however, the SNP without a significant effect explained most of the genetic variances and covariances of the traits. Single nucleotide polymorphism correlations differed from the polygenic correlations, but only 10 regions were found with an effect on multiple traits; in 1 of these regions the DGAT1 gene was previously reported with an effect on multiple traits. This region explained up to 41% of the variances of 4 traits and explained a major part of the correlation between fat yield and fat percentage and contributes to asymmetry in correlated response between fat yield and fat percentage. Overall, for the traits in this study, the infinitesimal model is expected to be sufficient for the estimation of the variances and covariances
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2132-2143
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • common snps explain
  • dairy-cattle
  • linkage disequilibrium
  • protein percentage
  • animal-model
  • large proportion
  • energy-balance
  • urea nitrogen
  • human height
  • dgat1 gene


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