Use of single nucleotide polymorphisms in candidate genes associated with daughter pregnancy rate for prediction of genetic merit for reproduction in Holstein cows

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We evaluated 69 SNPs in genes previously related to fertility and production traits for their relationship to daughter pregnancy rate (DPR), cow conception rate (CCR) and heifer conception rate (HCR) in a separate population of Holstein cows grouped according to their predicted transmitting ability (PTA) [≤−1 (n = 1287) and ≥1.5 (n = 1036)] for DPR. Genotyping was performed using Sequenom MassARRAY®. There were a total of 39 SNPs associated with the three fertility traits. The SNPs that explained the greater proportion of the genetic variation for DPR were COQ9 (3.2%), EPAS1 (1.0%), CAST (1.0%), C7H19orf60 (1.0%) and MRPL48 (1.0%); for CCR were GOLGA4 (2.4%), COQ9 (1.8%), EPAS1 (1.1%) and MRPL48 (0.8%); and for HCR were HSD17B7 (1.0%), AP3B1 (0.8%), HSD17B12 (0.7%) and CACNA1D (0.6%). Inclusion of 39 SNPs previously associated with DPR in the genetic evaluation system increased the reliability of PTA for DPR by 0.20%. Many of the genes represented by SNPs associated with fertility are involved in steroidogenesis or are regulated by steroids. A large proportion of SNPs previously associated with genetic merit for fertility in Holstein bulls maintained their association in a separate population of cows. The inclusion of these genes in genetic evaluation can improve reliabilities of genomic estimates for fertility.

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