• Evidence for genetic variance in resistance to tuberculosis in Great Britain and Irish Holstein-Friesian populations

      Bermingham, Mairead L; Brotherstone, Susan; Berry, Donagh; More, Simon J; Good, Margaret; Cromie, A. R.; White, Ian MS; Higgins, Isabella; Coffey, Mike P.; Downs, Sara H; et al. (Biomed Central, 2011-06-03)
      Background: Here, we jointly summarise scientific evidence for genetic variation in resistance to infection with Mycobacterium bovis, the primary agent of bovine tuberculosis (TB), provided by two recent and separate studies of Holstein-Friesian dairy cow populations in Great Britain (GB) and Ireland. Methods: The studies quantified genetic variation within archived data from field and abattoir surveillance control programmes within each country. These data included results from the single intradermal comparative tuberculin test (SICTT), abattoir inspection for TB lesions and laboratory confirmation of disease status. Threshold animal models were used to estimate variance components for responsiveness to the SICTT and abattoir confirmed M. bovis infection. The link functions between the observed 0/1 scale and the liability scale were the complementary log-log in the GB, and logit link function in the Irish population. Results and discussion: The estimated heritability of susceptibility to TB, as judged by responsiveness to the SICTT, was 0.16 (0.012) and 0.14 (0.025) in the GB and Irish populations, respectively. For abattoir or laboratory confirmation of infection, estimates were 0.18 (0.044) and 0.18 (0.041) from the GB and the Irish populations, respectively. Conclusions: Estimates were all significantly different from zero and indicate that exploitable variation exists among GB and Irish Holstein Friesian dairy cows for resistance to TB. Epidemiological analysis suggests that factors such as variation in exposure or imperfect sensitivity and specificity would have resulted in underestimation of the true values.
    • A genome-wide association study for genetic susceptibility to Mycobacterium bovis infection in dairy cattle identifies a susceptibility QTL on chromosome 23

      Richardson, Ian W.; Berry, Donagh; Wiencko, Heather L; Higgins, Isabella; More, Simon J; McClure, Jennifer; Lynn, David J; Bradley, Daniel G; Science Foundation Ireland; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; et al. (Biomed Central, 2016-03-09)
      Background Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) infection in cattle is a significant economic concern in many countries, with annual costs to the UK and Irish governments of approximately €190 million and €63 million, respectively, for bTB control. The existence of host additive and non-additive genetic components to bTB susceptibility has been established. Methods Two approaches i.e. single-SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) regression and a Bayesian method were applied to genome-wide association studies (GWAS) using high-density SNP genotypes (n = 597,144 SNPs) from 841 dairy artificial insemination (AI) sires. Deregressed estimated breeding values for bTB susceptibility were used as the quantitative dependent variable. Network analysis was performed using the quantitative trait loci (QTL) that were identified as significant in the single-SNP regression and Bayesian analyses separately. In addition, an identity-by-descent analysis was performed on a subset of the most prolific sires in the dataset that showed contrasting prevalences of bTB infection in daughters. Results A significant QTL region was identified on BTA23 (P value >1 × 10−5, Bayes factor >10) across all analyses. Sires with the minor allele (minor allele frequency = 0.136) for this QTL on BTA23 had estimated breeding values that conferred a greater susceptibility to bTB infection than those that were homozygous for the major allele. Imputation of the regions that flank this QTL on BTA23 to full sequence indicated that the most significant associations were located within introns of the FKBP5 gene. Conclusions A genomic region on BTA23 that is strongly associated with host susceptibility to bTB infection was identified. This region contained FKBP5, a gene involved in the TNFα/NFκ-B signalling pathway, which is a major biological pathway associated with immune response. Although there is no study that validates this region in the literature, our approach represents one of the most powerful studies for the analysis of bTB susceptibility to date.