• Anti-Müllerian hormone in grazing dairy cows: Identification of factors affecting plasma concentration, relationship with phenotypic fertility, and genome-wide associations

      Gobikrushanth, M.; Purfield, Deirdre C; Canadas, E. R.; Herlihy, Mary M.; Kenneally, J.; Murray, Margaret; Kearney, Francis; Colazo, M. G.; Ambrose, D. J.; Butler, Stephen; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-09-11)
      The objectives of this study were to (1) characterize the distribution and variability of plasma anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) concentration; (2) evaluate factors associated with phenotypic variation in plasma AMH; (3) examine the associations between categories of plasma AMH and reproductive outcomes [pregnancy to first artificial insemination (P/AI), and pregnancy rates within 21, 42, and 84 d after the mating start date (MSD)]; (4) estimate pedigree and genomic heritability for plasma AMH; and (5) identify and validate SNP associated with phenotypic variation in plasma AMH. Plasma AMH concentration (pg/mL) was determined from a blood sample collected (mean ± standard deviation) 10 ± 2 d after first insemination at detected estrus (IDE) in 2,628 first- and second-parity Irish dairy cows. Overall, plasma AMH had a positively skewed distribution with mean (± standard deviation), median, minimum, and maximum concentrations of 326 ± 231, 268, 15, and 2,863 pg/mL, respectively. Plasma AMH was greatest for Jersey, followed by Holstein × Jersey, Holstein × Norwegian Red, and Holstein cows (410, 332, 284, and 257 pg/mL, respectively). Second-parity cows had greater plasma AMH than first-parity cows (333 vs. 301 pg/mL, respectively). Samples collected at 7 and 8 d after first IDE had lesser plasma AMH than those collected on d 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 after first IDE (291 and 297 vs. 317, 319, 331, 337, and 320 pg/mL). Plasma AMH was not associated with either body condition score at first IDE or the interval from calving to MSD. Cows were categorized into low (≤150 pg/mL; n = 526; lowest 20%), intermediate (>150 to ≤461 pg/mL; n = 1,576; intermediate 60%), and high AMH (>461 pg/mL; n = 526; highest 20%) groups based on plasma AMH, and associations with reproductive outcomes were tested. Cows with high and intermediate plasma AMH had 1.42- and 1.51-times-greater odds of becoming pregnant within 84 d after the MSD than those with low plasma AMH (90.3 and 90.8 vs. 86.8%, respectively); however, P/AI and pregnancy rate within 21 and 42 d after the MSD did not differ among AMH categories. Plasma AMH was moderately heritable (pedigree heritability of 0.40 ± 0.06 and genomic heritability of 0.45 ± 0.05), and 68 SNP across Bos taurus autosomes 7 and 11 were associated with phenotypic variation in plasma AMH. Out of 68 SNP, 42 were located in a single quantitative trait locus on Bos taurus autosome 11 that harbored 6 previously identified candidate genes (NR5A1, HSPA5, CRB2, DENND1A, NDUFA8, and PTGS) linked to fertility-related phenotypes in dairy cows.
    • Detection of selection signatures in dairy and beef cattle using high-density genomic information

      Zhao, Fuping; McParland, Sinead; Kearney, Francis; Du, Lixin; Berry, Donagh; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Program; Natural Science Foundation of China; 11/S/112; ASTIP-IAS-TS-6 (Biomed Central, 2015-06-19)
      Background Artificial selection for economically important traits in cattle is expected to have left distinctive selection signatures on the genome. Access to high-density genotypes facilitates the accurate identification of genomic regions that have undergone positive selection. These findings help to better elucidate the mechanisms of selection and to identify candidate genes of interest to breeding programs. Results Information on 705 243 autosomal single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 3122 dairy and beef male animals from seven cattle breeds (Angus, Belgian Blue, Charolais, Hereford, Holstein-Friesian, Limousin and Simmental) were used to detect selection signatures by applying two complementary methods, integrated haplotype score (iHS) and global fixation index (FST). To control for false positive results, we used false discovery rate (FDR) adjustment to calculate adjusted iHS within each breed and the genome-wide significance level was about 0.003. Using the iHS method, 83, 92, 91, 101, 85, 101 and 86 significant genomic regions were detected for Angus, Belgian Blue, Charolais, Hereford, Holstein-Friesian, Limousin and Simmental cattle, respectively. None of these regions was common to all seven breeds. Using the FST approach, 704 individual SNPs were detected across breeds. Annotation of the regions of the genome that showed selection signatures revealed several interesting candidate genes i.e. DGAT1, ABCG2, MSTN, CAPN3, FABP3, CHCHD7, PLAG1, JAZF1, PRKG2, ACTC1, TBC1D1, GHR, BMP2, TSG1, LYN, KIT and MC1R that play a role in milk production, reproduction, body size, muscle formation or coat color. Fifty-seven common candidate genes were found by both the iHS and global FST methods across the seven breeds. Moreover, many novel genomic regions and genes were detected within the regions that showed selection signatures; for some candidate genes, signatures of positive selection exist in the human genome. Multilevel bioinformatic analyses of the detected candidate genes suggested that the PPAR pathway may have been subjected to positive selection. Conclusions This study provides a high-resolution bovine genomic map of positive selection signatures that are either specific to one breed or common to a subset of the seven breeds analyzed. Our results will contribute to the detection of functional candidate genes that have undergone positive selection in future studies.
    • Genome-wide association study for calving performance using high-density genotypes in dairy and beef cattle

      Purfield, Deirdre C; Bradley, Daniel G; Evans, R. D.; Kearney, Francis; Berry, Donagh; Science Foundation Ireland; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 09/IN.1/B2642; RSF 11/S/112 (Biomed Central, 2015-06-12)
      Background Calving difficulty and perinatal mortality are prevalent in modern-day cattle production systems. It is well-established that there is a genetic component to both traits, yet little is known about their underlying genomic architecture, particularly in beef breeds. Therefore, we performed a genome-wide association study using high-density genotypes to elucidate the genomic architecture of these traits and to identify regions of the bovine genome associated with them. Results Genomic regions associated with calving difficulty (direct and maternal) and perinatal mortality were detected using two statistical approaches: (1) single-SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) regression and (2) a Bayesian approach. Data included high-density genotypes on 770 Holstein-Friesian, 927 Charolais and 963 Limousin bulls. Several novel or previously identified genomic regions were detected but associations differed by breed. For example, two genomic associations, one each on chromosomes 18 and 2 explained 2.49 % and 3.13 % of the genetic variance in direct calving difficulty in the Holstein-Friesian and Charolais populations, respectively. Imputed Holstein-Friesian sequence data was used to refine the genomic regions responsible for significant associations. Several candidate genes on chromosome 18 were identified and four highly significant missense variants were detected within three of these genes (SIGLEC12, CTU1, and ZNF615). Nevertheless, only CTU1 contained a missense variant with a putative impact on direct calving difficulty based on SIFT (0.06) and Polyphen (0.95) scores. Using imputed sequence data, we refined a genomic region on chromosome 4 associated with maternal calving difficulty in the Holstein-Friesian population and found the strongest association with an intronic variant in the PCLO gene. A meta-analysis was performed across the three breeds for each calving performance trait to identify common variants associated with these traits in the three breeds. Our results suggest that a portion of the genetic variation in calving performance is common to all three breeds. Conclusion The genomic architecture of calving performance is complex and mainly influenced by many polymorphisms of small effect. We identified several associations of moderate effect size but the majority were breed-specific, indicating that breed-specific alleles exist for calving performance or that the linkage phase between genotyped allele and causal mutation varies between breeds.
    • A genome-wide association study for somatic cell score using the Illumina high-density bovine beadchip identifies several novel QTL potentially related to mastitis susceptibility

      Meredith, Brian K; Berry, Donagh; Kearney, Francis; Finlay, Emma K.; Fahey, Alan G.; Bradley, Daniel G; Lynn, David J; Science Foundation Ireland; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; et al. (Frontiers Media SA, 2013-11-06)
      Mastitis is an inflammation-driven disease of the bovine mammary gland that occurs in response to physical damage or infection and is one of the most costly production-related diseases in the dairy industry worldwide. We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify genetic loci associated with somatic cell score (SCS), an indicator trait of mammary gland inflammation. A total of 702 Holstein-Friesian bulls were genotyped for 777,962 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and associated with SCS phenotypes. The SCS phenotypes were expressed as daughter yield deviations (DYD) based on a large number of progeny performance records. A total of 138 SNPs on 15 different chromosomes reached genome-wide significance (corrected p-value ≤ 0.05) for association with SCS (after correction for multiple testing). We defined 28 distinct QTL regions and a number of candidate genes located in these QTL regions were identified. The most significant association (p-value = 1.70 × 10−7) was observed on chromosome 6. This QTL had no known genes annotated within it, however, the Ensembl Genome Browser predicted the presence of a small non-coding RNA (a Y RNA gene) in this genomic region. This Y RNA gene was 99% identical to human RNY4. Y RNAs are a rare type of non-coding RNA that were originally discovered due to their association with the autoimmune disease, systemic lupus erythematosus. Examining small-RNA sequencing (RNAseq) data being generated by us in multiple different mastitis-pathogen challenged cell-types has revealed that this Y RNA is expressed (but not differentially expressed) in these cells. Other QTL regions identified in this study also encoded strong candidate genes for mastitis susceptibility. A QTL region on chromosome 13, for example, was found to contain a cluster of β-defensin genes, a gene family with known roles in innate immunity. Due to the increased SNP density, this study also refined the boundaries for several known QTL for SCS and mastitis.
    • Genome-wide associations for milk production and somatic cell score in Holstein-Friesian cattle in Ireland

      Meredith, Brian K; Kearney, Francis; Finlay, Emma K.; Bradley, Daniel G; Fahey, Alan G.; Berry, Donagh; Lynn, David J; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Science Foundaton Ireland; 09/IN.1/B2642 (Biomed Central, 2012-03-26)
      Background: Contemporary dairy breeding goals have broadened to include, along with milk production traits, a number of non-production-related traits in an effort to improve the overall functionality of the dairy cow. Increased indirect selection for resistance to mastitis, one of the most important production-related diseases in the dairy sector, via selection for reduced somatic cell count has been part of these broadened goals. A number of genome-wide association studies have identified genetic variants associated with milk production traits and mastitis resistance, however the majority of these studies have been based on animals which were predominantly kept in confinement and fed a concentrate-based diet (i.e. high-input production systems). This genome-wide association study aims to detect associations using genotypic and phenotypic data from Irish Holstein-Friesian cattle fed predominantly grazed grass in a pasture-based production system (low-input). Results: Significant associations were detected for milk yield, fat yield, protein yield, fat percentage, protein percentage and somatic cell score using separate single-locus, frequentist and multi-locus, Bayesian approaches. These associations were detected using two separate populations of Holstein-Friesian sires and cows. In total, 1,529 and 37 associations were detected in the sires using a single SNP regression and a Bayesian method, respectively. There were 103 associations in common between the sires and cows across all the traits. As well as detecting associations within known QTL regions, a number of novel associations were detected; the most notable of these was a region of chromosome 13 associated with milk yield in the population of Holstein-Friesian sires. Conclusions: A total of 276 of novel SNPs were detected in the sires using a single SNP regression approach. Although obvious candidate genes may not be initially forthcoming, this study provides a preliminary framework upon which to identify the causal mechanisms underlying the various milk production traits and somatic cell score. Consequently this will deepen our understanding of how these traits are expressed.
    • Purging of inbreeding depression within the Irish Holstein-Friesian population

      McParland, Sinead; Kearney, Francis; Berry, Donagh (Biomed Central, 2009-01-21)
      The objective of this study was to investigate whether inbreeding depression in milk production or fertility performance has been partially purged due to selection within the Irish Holstein-Friesian population. Classical, ancestral (i.e., the inbreeding of an individual's ancestors according to two different formulae) and new inbreeding coefficients (i.e., part of the classical inbreeding coefficient that is not accounted for by ancestral inbreeding) were computed for all animals. The effect of each coefficient on 305-day milk, fat and protein yield as well as calving interval, age at first calving and survival to second lactation was investigated. Ancestral inbreeding accounting for all common ancestors in the pedigree had a positive effect on 305-day milk and protein yield, increasing yields by 4.85 kg and 0.12 kg, respectively. However, ancestral inbreeding accounting only for those common ancestors, which contribute to the classical inbreeding coefficient had a negative effect on all milk production traits decreasing 305-day milk, fat and protein yields by -8.85 kg, -0.53 kg and -0.33 kg, respectively. Classical, ancestral and new inbreeding generally had a detrimental effect on fertility and survival traits. From this study, it appears that Irish Holstein-Friesians have purged some of their genetic load for milk production through many years of selection based on production alone, while fertility, which has been less intensely selected for in the population demonstrates no evidence of purging.