Unraveling the genetic architecture of environmental variance of somatic cell score using high-density single nucleotide polymorphism and cow data from experimental farms

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Abstract

In recent years, it has been shown that not only is the phenotype under genetic control, but also the environmental variance. Very little, however, is known about the genetic architecture of environmental variance. The main objective of this study was to unravel the genetic architecture of the mean and environmental variance of somatic cell score (SCS) by identifying genome-wide associations for mean and environmental variance of SCS in dairy cows and by quantifying the accuracy of genome-wide breeding values. Somatic cell score was used because previous research has shown that the environmental variance of SCS is partly under genetic control and reduction of the variance of SCS by selection is desirable. In this study, we used 37,590 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotypes and 46,353 test-day records of 1,642 cows at experimental research farms in 4 countries in Europe. We used a genomic relationship matrix in a double hierarchical generalized linear model to estimate genome-wide breeding values and genetic parameters. The estimated mean and environmental variance per cow was used in a Bayesian multi-locus model to identify SNP associated with either the mean or the environmental variance of SCS. Based on the obtained accuracy of genome-wide breeding values, 985 and 541 independent chromosome segments affecting the mean and environmental variance of SCS, respectively, were identified. Using a genomic relationship matrix increased the accuracy of breeding values relative to using a pedigree relationship matrix. In total, 43 SNP were significantly associated with either the mean (22) or the environmental variance of SCS (21). The SNP with the highest Bayes factor was on chromosome 9 (Hapmap31053-BTA-111664) explaining approximately 3% of the genetic variance of the environmental variance of SCS. Other significant SNP explained less than 1% of the genetic variance. It can be concluded that fewer genomic regions affect the environmental variance of SCS than the mean of SCS, but genes with large effects seem to be absent for both traits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7306-7317
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume96
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • quantitative trait loci
  • affecting clinical mastitis
  • generalized linear-models
  • wide association analysis
  • dairy-cattle
  • holstein cows
  • conformation traits
  • residual variance
  • breeding values
  • health traits

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