• 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.
    • 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.