• Gastrointestinal nematode control practices on lowland sheep farms in Ireland with reference to selection for anthelmintic resistance

      Patten, Thomas; Good, Barbara; Hanrahan, James P; Mulcahy, Grace; de Waal, Theo (Biomed Central, 2011-03-31)
      Gastrointestinal parasitism is a widely recognised problem in sheep production, particularly for lambs. While anthelmintics have a pivotal role in controlling the effects of parasites, there is a paucity of data on how farmers use anthelmintics. A representative sample of Irish lowland farmers were surveyed regarding their parasite control practices and risk factors that may contribute to the development of anthelmintic resistance. Questionnaires were distributed to 166 lowland Irish sheep producers. The vast majority of respondents treated their sheep with anthelmintics. Lambs were the cohort treated most frequently, the majority of farmers followed a set programme as opposed to treating at sign of disease. A substantial proportion (61%) administered four or more treatments to lambs in a 'normal' year. Departures from best practice in anthelmintic administration that would encourage the development of anthelmintic resistance were observed. In conclusion, in the light of anthelmintic resistance, there is a need for a greater awareness of the principles that underpin the sustainable use of anthelmintics and practices that preserve anthelmintic efficacy should be given a very high priority in the design of helminth control programmes on each farm. To this end, given that veterinary practitioners and agricultural advisors were considered to be the farmer's most popular information resource, the capacity of these professions to communicate information relating to best practice in parasite control should be targeted.
    • Gene-trait matching across the Bifidobacterium longum pan-genome reveals considerable diversity in carbohydrate catabolism among human infant strains

      Arboleya, Silvia; Bottacini, Francesca; O'Connell-Motherway, Mary; Ryan, C. Anthony; Ross, R Paul; van Sinderen, Douwe; STANTON, CATHERINE; Science Foundation Ireland; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273; et al. (Biomed Central, 08/01/2018)
      Background Bifidobacterium longum is a common member of the human gut microbiota and is frequently present at high numbers in the gut microbiota of humans throughout life, thus indicative of a close symbiotic host-microbe relationship. Different mechanisms may be responsible for the high competitiveness of this taxon in its human host to allow stable establishment in the complex and dynamic intestinal microbiota environment. The objective of this study was to assess the genetic and metabolic diversity in a set of 20 B. longum strains, most of which had previously been isolated from infants, by performing whole genome sequencing and comparative analysis, and to analyse their carbohydrate utilization abilities using a gene-trait matching approach. Results We analysed their pan-genome and their phylogenetic relatedness. All strains clustered in the B. longum ssp. longum phylogenetic subgroup, except for one individual strain which was found to cluster in the B. longum ssp. suis phylogenetic group. The examined strains exhibit genomic diversity, while they also varied in their sugar utilization profiles. This allowed us to perform a gene-trait matching exercise enabling the identification of five gene clusters involved in the utilization of xylo-oligosaccharides, arabinan, arabinoxylan, galactan and fucosyllactose, the latter of which is an abundant human milk oligosaccharide (HMO). Conclusions The results showed high diversity in terms of genes and predicted glycosyl-hydrolases, as well as the ability to metabolize a large range of sugars. Moreover, we corroborate the capability of B. longum ssp. longum to metabolise HMOs. Ultimately, their intraspecific genomic diversity and the ability to consume a wide assortment of carbohydrates, ranging from plant-derived carbohydrates to HMOs, may provide an explanation for the competitive advantage and persistence of B. longum in the human gut microbiome.
    • Gene-trait matching across the Bifidobacterium longum pan-genome reveals considerable diversity in carbohydrate catabolism among human infant strains

      Arboleya, Silvia; Bottacini, Francesca; O'Connell-Motherway, Mary; Ryan, C. Anthony; Ross, R Paul; van Sinderen, Douwe; STANTON, CATHERINE; Science Foundation Ireland; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273; et al. (Biomed Central, 08/01/2018)
      Background Bifidobacterium longum is a common member of the human gut microbiota and is frequently present at high numbers in the gut microbiota of humans throughout life, thus indicative of a close symbiotic host-microbe relationship. Different mechanisms may be responsible for the high competitiveness of this taxon in its human host to allow stable establishment in the complex and dynamic intestinal microbiota environment. The objective of this study was to assess the genetic and metabolic diversity in a set of 20 B. longum strains, most of which had previously been isolated from infants, by performing whole genome sequencing and comparative analysis, and to analyse their carbohydrate utilization abilities using a gene-trait matching approach. Results We analysed their pan-genome and their phylogenetic relatedness. All strains clustered in the B. longum ssp. longum phylogenetic subgroup, except for one individual strain which was found to cluster in the B. longum ssp. suis phylogenetic group. The examined strains exhibit genomic diversity, while they also varied in their sugar utilization profiles. This allowed us to perform a gene-trait matching exercise enabling the identification of five gene clusters involved in the utilization of xylo-oligosaccharides, arabinan, arabinoxylan, galactan and fucosyllactose, the latter of which is an abundant human milk oligosaccharide (HMO). Conclusions The results showed high diversity in terms of genes and predicted glycosyl-hydrolases, as well as the ability to metabolize a large range of sugars. Moreover, we corroborate the capability of B. longum ssp. longum to metabolise HMOs. Ultimately, their intraspecific genomic diversity and the ability to consume a wide assortment of carbohydrates, ranging from plant-derived carbohydrates to HMOs, may provide an explanation for the competitive advantage and persistence of B. longum in the human gut microbiome.
    • Gene-trait matching across the Bifidobacterium longum pan-genome reveals considerable diversity in carbohydrate catabolism among human infant strains

      Arboleya, Silvia; Bottacini, Francesca; O'Connell-Motherway, Mary; Ryan, C. Anthony; Ross, R Paul; van Sinderen, Douwe; STANTON, CATHERINE; Science Foundation Ireland; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273; et al. (Biomed Central, 08/01/2018)
      Background Bifidobacterium longum is a common member of the human gut microbiota and is frequently present at high numbers in the gut microbiota of humans throughout life, thus indicative of a close symbiotic host-microbe relationship. Different mechanisms may be responsible for the high competitiveness of this taxon in its human host to allow stable establishment in the complex and dynamic intestinal microbiota environment. The objective of this study was to assess the genetic and metabolic diversity in a set of 20 B. longum strains, most of which had previously been isolated from infants, by performing whole genome sequencing and comparative analysis, and to analyse their carbohydrate utilization abilities using a gene-trait matching approach. Results We analysed their pan-genome and their phylogenetic relatedness. All strains clustered in the B. longum ssp. longum phylogenetic subgroup, except for one individual strain which was found to cluster in the B. longum ssp. suis phylogenetic group. The examined strains exhibit genomic diversity, while they also varied in their sugar utilization profiles. This allowed us to perform a gene-trait matching exercise enabling the identification of five gene clusters involved in the utilization of xylo-oligosaccharides, arabinan, arabinoxylan, galactan and fucosyllactose, the latter of which is an abundant human milk oligosaccharide (HMO). Conclusions The results showed high diversity in terms of genes and predicted glycosyl-hydrolases, as well as the ability to metabolize a large range of sugars. Moreover, we corroborate the capability of B. longum ssp. longum to metabolise HMOs. Ultimately, their intraspecific genomic diversity and the ability to consume a wide assortment of carbohydrates, ranging from plant-derived carbohydrates to HMOs, may provide an explanation for the competitive advantage and persistence of B. longum in the human gut microbiome.
    • A general method for selection of riboflavin-overproducing food grade micro-organisms

      Burgess, Catherine; Smid, Eddy J; Rutten, Ger; van Sinderen, Douwe; European Union; QLK1-CT-2000-01376 (Biomed Central, 2006-07-18)
      Background: This study describes a strategy to select and isolate spontaneous riboflavin-overproducing strains of Lactobacillus (Lb.) plantarum, Leuconostoc (Lc.) mesenteroides and Propionibacterium (P.) freudenreichii. Results: The toxic riboflavin analogue roseoflavin was used to isolate natural riboflavin-overproducing variants of the food grade micro-organisms Lb. plantarum, Lc. mesenteroides and P. freudenreichii strains. The method was successfully employed for strains of all three species. The mutation(s) responsible for the observed overproduction of riboflavin were identified for isolates of two species. Conclusion: Selection for spontaneous roseoflavin-resistant mutants was found to be a reliable method to obtain natural riboflavin-overproducing strains of a number of species commonly used in the food industry. This study presents a convenient method for deriving riboflavin-overproducing strains of bacterial starter cultures, which are currently used in the food industry, by a non-recombinant methodology. Use of such starter strains can be exploited to increase the vitamin content in certain food products.
    • Genetic and economic benefits of foreign sire contributions to a domestic sheep industry; including an Ireland-New Zealand case study

      Fetherstone, Nicola; Hely, Fiona S; McHugh, Noirín; McGovern, Fiona M; Amer, Peter R; European Union; n°772787 (Biomed Central, 2021-01-06)
      Background Importation of foreign genetics is a widely used genetic improvement strategy. However, even if the foreign genetic merit is currently greater than the domestic genetic merit, differences in foreign and domestic trends mean that the long-term competitiveness of an importation strategy cannot be guaranteed. Gene flow models are used to quantify the impact that a specific subpopulation, such as foreign genetics, can have over time on the genetic or economic benefit of a domestic industry. Methods We used a deterministic recursive gene flow model to predict the commercial performance of lambs born across various subpopulations. Numerous breeding strategies were evaluated by varying market share, proportions of rams selected for mating, genetic trend, superiority of foreign genetics over domestic genetics and frequency of importation. Specifically, an Ireland-New Zealand case study was simulated to quantify the potential gain that could be made by using foreign sire contributions (New Zealand) in a domestic sheep industry (Ireland). Results Genetic and economic gains were generated from alternative breeding strategies. The ‘base scenario’ (i.e. representing the current industry) predicted an average genetic merit value of €2.51 for lambs born and an annualised cumulative benefit of €45 million (m) after 20 years. Maximum genetic (€9.45 for lambs born) and economic (annualised cumulative benefit of €180 m after 20 years) benefits were achieved by implementing the ‘PRO-intense-market scenario’ which involved shifting market share away from conservative domestic breeders and reducing the proportion of rams that were selected for mating by progressive domestic breeders from the top 40% to the top 20%, without the use of any foreign genetics. The ‘PROFOR scenario’, which considered the use of foreign and progressive domestic genetics, predicted an average genetic merit value of €7.37 for lambs born and an annualised cumulative benefit of €144 m, after 20 years. Conclusions Our results demonstrate that there is opportunity for a domestic industry to increase industry benefits without the use of foreign genetics but through an attempt to shift the market share away from conservative domestic breeders towards progressive domestic breeders. However, the importation and use of progressive foreign genetics may be an effective method to trigger a change in behaviour of conservative domestic breeders towards the use of progressive genetics.
    • Genetic basis of benzimidazole resistance in Teladorsagia circumcincta in Ireland

      Keegan, Jason D; Good, Barbara; de Waal, Theo; Fanning, June; Keane, Orla M; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Biomed Central, 2017-02-13)
      Resistance to benzimidazole (BZ) anthelmintics is common in ovine nematodes of economic importance. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) at three positions in the isotype 1 β– tubulin gene have been associated with BZ resistance and molecular tests for the detection of BZ resistance have been developed. In order to determine if such tests are practicable in Ireland the polymorphisms associated with BZ resistance must be identified. To this end, BZ-resistant nematodes were recovered from four farms in Ireland. Resistant Teladorsagia circumcincta, Cooperia curticei and Trichostrongylus colubriformis were recovered, with resistant T. circumcincta the most common and the only species studied further. Sequencing of the isotype 1 β–tubulin gene from resistant T. circumcincta identified a T - A transition, resulting in an F200Y substitution known to be responsible for BZ-resistance, on three of the farms. However, on the fourth farm the frequency of the resistant A allele was only 0.33 indicating another BZ resistance mechanism may be present on this farm. An additional polymorphism resulting in a substitution of glutamate for leucine (E198L) was also found on this farm at low frequency (0.17). No polymorphisms at position 167 were identified on any farm. Therefore, molecular tests to detect BZ resistance in T. circumcincta in Ireland could prove useful; however, they may result in some instances of resistance remaining undetected.
    • Genetic control of temperament traits across species: association of autism spectrum disorder risk genes with cattle temperament

      Costilla, Roy; Kemper, Kathryn E; Byrne, Enda M; Porto-Neto, Laercio R; Carvalheiro, Roberto; Purfield, Deirdre C; Doyle, Jennifer L; Berry, Donagh P; Moore, Stephen S; Wray, Naomi R; et al. (Biomed Central, 2020-08-26)
      Background Temperament traits are of high importance across species. In humans, temperament or personality traits correlate with psychological traits and psychiatric disorders. In cattle, they impact animal welfare, product quality and human safety, and are therefore of direct commercial importance. We hypothesized that genetic factors that contribute to variation in temperament among individuals within a species will be shared between humans and cattle. Using imputed whole-genome sequence data from 9223 beef cattle from three cohorts, a series of genome-wide association studies was undertaken on cattle flight time, a temperament phenotype measured as the time taken for an animal to cover a short-fixed distance after release from an enclosure. We also investigated the association of cattle temperament with polymorphisms in bovine orthologs of risk genes for neuroticism, schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and developmental delay disorders in humans. Results Variants with the strongest associations were located in the bovine orthologous region that is involved in several behavioural and cognitive disorders in humans. These variants were also partially validated in independent cattle cohorts. Genes in these regions (BARHL2, NDN, SNRPN, MAGEL2, ABCA12, KIFAP3, TOPAZ1, FZD3, UBE3A, and GABRA5) were enriched for the GO term neuron migration and were differentially expressed in brain and pituitary tissues in humans. Moreover, variants within 100 kb of ASD susceptibility genes were associated with cattle temperament and explained 6.5% of the total additive genetic variance in the largest cattle cohort. The ASD genes with the most significant associations were GABRB3 and CUL3. Using the same 100 kb window, a weak association was found with polymorphisms in schizophrenia risk genes and no association with polymorphisms in neuroticism and developmental delay disorders risk genes. Conclusions Our analysis showed that genes identified in a meta-analysis of cattle temperament contribute to neuron development functions and are differentially expressed in human brain tissues. Furthermore, some ASD susceptibility genes are associated with cattle temperament. These findings provide evidence that genetic control of temperament might be shared between humans and cattle and highlight the potential for future analyses to leverage results between species.
    • Genetics of animal health and disease in cattle

      Berry, Donagh; Bermingham, Mairead L; Good, Margaret; More, Simon J (Biomed Central, 2011-03-31)
      There have been considerable recent advancements in animal breeding and genetics relevant to disease control in cattle, which can now be utilised as part of an overall programme for improved cattle health. This review summarises the contribution of genetic makeup to differences in resistance to many diseases affecting cattle. Significant genetic variation in susceptibility to disease does exist among cattle suggesting that genetic selection for improved resistance to disease will be fruitful. Deficiencies in accurately recorded data on individual animal susceptibility to disease are, however, currently hindering the inclusion of health and disease resistance traits in national breeding goals. Developments in 'omics' technologies, such as genomic selection, may help overcome some of the limitations of traditional breeding programmes and will be especially beneficial in breeding for lowly heritable disease traits that only manifest themselves following exposure to pathogens or environmental stressors in adulthood. However, access to large databases of phenotypes on health and disease will still be necessary. This review clearly shows that genetics make a significant contribution to the overall health and resistance to disease in cattle. Therefore, breeding programmes for improved animal health and disease resistance should be seen as an integral part of any overall national disease control strategy.
    • Genome sequence of Ensifer adhaerens OV14 provides insights into its ability as a novel vector for the genetic transformation of plant genomes

      Rudder, Steven; Doohan, Fiona; Creevey, Christopher J.; Wendt, Toni; Mullins, Ewen (Biomed Central, 2014-04-07)
      Abstract Background Recently it has been shown that Ensifer adhaerens can be used as a plant transformation technology, transferring genes into several plant genomes when equipped with a Ti plasmid. For this study, we have sequenced the genome of Ensifer adhaerens OV14 (OV14) and compared it with those of Agrobacterium tumefaciens C58 (C58) and Sinorhizobium meliloti 1021 (1021); the latter of which has also demonstrated a capacity to genetically transform crop genomes, albeit at significantly reduced frequencies. Results The 7.7 Mb OV14 genome comprises two chromosomes and two plasmids. All protein coding regions in the OV14 genome were functionally grouped based on an eggNOG database. No genes homologous to the A. tumefaciens Ti plasmid vir genes appeared to be present in the OV14 genome. Unexpectedly, OV14 and 1021 were found to possess homologs to chromosomal based genes cited as essential to A. tumefaciens T-DNA transfer. Of significance, genes that are non-essential but exert a positive influence on virulence and the ability to genetically transform host genomes were identified in OV14 but were absent from the 1021 genome. Conclusions This study reveals the presence of homologs to chromosomally based Agrobacterium genes that support T-DNA transfer within the genome of OV14 and other alphaproteobacteria. The sequencing and analysis of the OV14 genome increases our understanding of T-DNA transfer by non-Agrobacterium species and creates a platform for the continued improvement of Ensifer-mediated transformation (EMT).
    • Genome sequences and comparative genomics of two Lactobacillus ruminis strains from the bovine and human intestinal tracts

      Forde, Brian M; Neville, B. Anne; O'Donnell, Michelle M.; Riboulet-Bisson, Eliette; Claesson, Marcus J.; Coghlan, Avril; Ross, R Paul; O'Toole, Paul W. (Biomed Central, 30/08/2011)
      Background: The genus Lactobacillus is characterized by an extraordinary degree of phenotypic and genotypic diversity, which recent genomic analyses have further highlighted. However, the choice of species for sequencing has been non-random and unequal in distribution, with only a single representative genome from the L. salivarius clade available to date. Furthermore, there is no data to facilitate a functional genomic analysis of motility in the lactobacilli, a trait that is restricted to the L. salivarius clade. Results: The 2.06 Mb genome of the bovine isolate Lactobacillus ruminis ATCC 27782 comprises a single circular chromosome, and has a G+C content of 44.4%. In silico analysis identified 1901 coding sequences, including genes for a pediocin-like bacteriocin, a single large exopolysaccharide-related cluster, two sortase enzymes, two CRISPR loci and numerous IS elements and pseudogenes. A cluster of genes related to a putative pilin was identified, and shown to be transcribed in vitro. A high quality draft assembly of the genome of a second L. ruminis strain, ATCC 25644 isolated from humans, suggested a slightly larger genome of 2.138 Mb, that exhibited a high degree of synteny with the ATCC 27782 genome. In contrast, comparative analysis of L. ruminis and L. salivarius identified a lack of long-range synteny between these closely related species. Comparison of the L. salivarius clade core proteins with those of nine other Lactobacillus species distributed across 4 major phylogenetic groups identified the set of shared proteins, and proteins unique to each group. Conclusions: The genome of L. ruminis provides a comparative tool for directing functional analyses of other members of the L. salivarius clade, and it increases understanding of the divergence of this distinct Lactobacillus lineage from other commensal lactobacilli. The genome sequence provides a definitive resource to facilitate investigation of the genetics, biochemistry and host interactions of these motile intestinal lactobacilli.
    • Genome-wide association analyses of carcass traits using copy number variants and raw intensity values of single nucleotide polymorphisms in cattle

      Rafter, Pierce; Gormley, Isobel C.; Purfield, Deirdre; Parnell, Andrew C.; Naderi, Saeid; Berry, Donagh P.; Science Foundation Ireland; 14/IA/2576 (Biomed Central, 2021-10-23)
      Background The carcass value of cattle is a function of carcass weight and quality. Given the economic importance of carcass merit to producers, it is routinely included in beef breeding objectives. A detailed understanding of the genetic variants that contribute to carcass merit is useful to maximize the efficiency of breeding for improved carcass merit. The objectives of the present study were two-fold: firstly, to perform genome-wide association analyses of carcass weight, carcass conformation, and carcass fat using copy number variant (CNV) data in a population of 923 Holstein-Friesian, 945 Charolais, and 974 Limousin bulls; and secondly to perform separate association analyses of carcass traits on the same population of cattle using the Log R ratio (LRR) values of 712,555 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The LRR value of a SNP is a measure of the signal intensity of the SNP generated during the genotyping process. Results A total of 13,969, 3,954, and 2,805 detected CNVs were tested for association with the three carcass traits for the Holstein-Friesian, Charolais, and Limousin, respectively. The copy number of 16 CNVs and the LRR of 34 SNPs were associated with at least one of the three carcass traits in at least one of the three cattle breeds. With the exception of three SNPs, none of the quantitative trait loci detected in the CNV association analyses or the SNP LRR association analyses were also detected using traditional association analyses based on SNP allele counts. Many of the CNVs and SNPs associated with the carcass traits were located near genes related to the structure and function of the spliceosome and the ribosome; in particular, U6 which encodes a spliceosomal subunit and 5S rRNA which encodes a ribosomal subunit. Conclusions The present study demonstrates that CNV data and SNP LRR data can be used to detect genomic regions associated with carcass traits in cattle providing information on quantitative trait loci over and above those detected using just SNP allele counts, as is the approach typically employed in genome-wide association analyses.
    • 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 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 association study of endo-parasite phenotypes using imputed whole-genome sequence data in dairy and beef cattle

      Twomey, Alan J; Berry, Donagh; Evans, Ross D; Doherty, Michael L; Graham, David A; Purfield, Deirdre C; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Science Foundation Ireland; 16/RC/3835 (Biomed Central, 2019-04-18)
      Background Quantitative genetic studies suggest the existence of variation at the genome level that affects the ability of cattle to resist to parasitic diseases. The objective of the current study was to identify regions of the bovine genome that are associated with resistance to endo-parasites. Methods Individual cattle records were available for Fasciola hepatica-damaged liver from 18 abattoirs. Deregressed estimated breeding values (EBV) for F. hepatica-damaged liver were generated for genotyped animals with a record for F. hepatica-damaged liver and for genotyped sires with a least one progeny record for F. hepatica-damaged liver; 3702 animals were available. In addition, individual cow records for antibody response to F. hepatica on 6388 genotyped dairy cows, antibody response to Ostertagia ostertagi on 8334 genotyped dairy cows and antibody response to Neospora caninum on 4597 genotyped dairy cows were adjusted for non-genetic effects. Genotypes were imputed to whole-sequence; after edits, 14,190,141 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 16,603,644 SNPs were available for cattle with deregressed EBV for F. hepatica-damaged liver and cows with an antibody response to a parasitic disease, respectively. Association analyses were undertaken using linear regression on one SNP at a time, in which a genomic relationship matrix accounted for the relationships between animals. Results Genomic regions for F. hepatica-damaged liver were located on Bos taurus autosomes (BTA) 1, 8, 11, 16, 17 and 18; each region included at least one SNP with a p value lower than 10−6. Five SNPs were identified as significant (q value < 0.05) for antibody response to N. caninum and were located on BTA21 or 25. For antibody response to F. hepatica and O. ostertagi, six and nine quantitative trait loci (QTL) regions that included at least one SNP with a p value lower than 10−6 were identified, respectively. Gene set enrichment analysis revealed a significant association between functional annotations related to the olfactory system and QTL that were suggestively associated with endo-parasite phenotypes. Conclusions A number of novel genomic regions were suggestively associated with endo-parasite phenotypes across the bovine genome and two genomic regions on BTA21 and 25 were associated with antibody response to N. caninum.
    • 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.
    • Genome-wide transcriptional profiling of peripheral blood leukocytes from cattle infected with Mycobacterium bovis reveals suppression of host immune genes

      Killick, Kate E; Browne, John A; Park, Stephen D. E.; Magee, David A; Martin, Irene; Meade, Kieran G; Gordon, Stephen V; Gormley, Eamonn; O'Farrelly, Cliona; Hokamp, Karsten; et al. (2011-12-19)
      Background Mycobacterium bovis is the causative agent of bovine tuberculosis (BTB), a pathological infection with significant economic impact. Recent studies have highlighted the role of functional genomics to better understand the molecular mechanisms governing the host immune response to M. bovis infection. Furthermore, these studies may enable the identification of novel transcriptional markers of BTB that can augment current diagnostic tests and surveillance programmes. In the present study, we have analysed the transcriptome of peripheral blood leukocytes (PBL) from eight M. bovis-infected and eight control non-infected age-matched and sex-matched Holstein-Friesian cattle using the Affymetrix® GeneChip® Bovine Genome Array with 24,072 gene probe sets representing more than 23,000 gene transcripts. Results Control and infected animals had similar mean white blood cell counts. However, the mean number of lymphocytes was significantly increased in the infected group relative to the control group (P = 0.001), while the mean number of monocytes was significantly decreased in the BTB group (P = 0.002). Hierarchical clustering analysis using gene expression data from all 5,388 detectable mRNA transcripts unambiguously partitioned the animals according to their disease status. In total, 2,960 gene transcripts were differentially expressed (DE) between the infected and control animal groups (adjusted P-value threshold ≤ 0.05); with the number of gene transcripts showing decreased relative expression (1,563) exceeding those displaying increased relative expression (1,397). Systems analysis using the Ingenuity® Systems Pathway Analysis (IPA) Knowledge Base revealed an over-representation of DE genes involved in the immune response functional category. More specifically, 64.5% of genes in the affects immune response subcategory displayed decreased relative expression levels in the infected animals compared to the control group. Conclusions This study demonstrates that genome-wide transcriptional profiling of PBL can distinguish active M. bovis-infected animals from control non-infected animals. Furthermore, the results obtained support previous investigations demonstrating that mycobacterial infection is associated with host transcriptional suppression. These data support the use of transcriptomic technologies to enable the identification of robust, reliable transcriptional markers of active M. bovis infection.
    • Genome-wide transcriptional profiling of peripheral blood leukocytes from cattle infected with Mycobacterium bovis reveals suppression of host immune genes

      Killick, Kate E; Browne, John A; Park, Stephen D. E.; Magee, David A; Martin, Irene; Meade, Kieran G; Gordon, Stephen V; Gormley, Eamonn; O'Farrelly, Cliona; Hokamp, Karsten; et al. (Biomed Central, 2011-12-19)
      Background: Mycobacterium bovis is the causative agent of bovine tuberculosis (BTB), a pathological infection with significant economic impact. Recent studies have highlighted the role of functional genomics to better understand the molecular mechanisms governing the host immune response to M. bovis infection. Furthermore, these studies may enable the identification of novel transcriptional markers of BTB that can augment current diagnostic tests and surveillance programmes. In the present study, we have analysed the transcriptome of peripheral blood leukocytes (PBL) from eight M. bovis-infected and eight control non-infected age-matched and sex-matched Holstein-Friesian cattle using the Affymetrix® GeneChip® Bovine Genome Array with 24,072 gene probe sets representing more than 23,000 gene transcripts. Results: Control and infected animals had similar mean white blood cell counts. However, the mean number of lymphocytes was significantly increased in the infected group relative to the control group (P = 0.001), while the mean number of monocytes was significantly decreased in the BTB group (P = 0.002). Hierarchical clustering analysis using gene expression data from all 5,388 detectable mRNA transcripts unambiguously partitioned the animals according to their disease status. In total, 2,960 gene transcripts were differentially expressed (DE) between the infected and control animal groups (adjusted P-value threshold ≤ 0.05); with the number of gene transcripts showing decreased relative expression (1,563) exceeding those displaying increased relative expression (1,397). Systems analysis using the Ingenuity® Systems Pathway Analysis (IPA) Knowledge Base revealed an over-representation of DE genes involved in the immune response functional category. More specifically, 64.5% of genes in the affects immune response subcategory displayed decreased relative expression levels in the infected animals compared to the control group. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that genome-wide transcriptional profiling of PBL can distinguish active M. bovis-infected animals from control non-infected animals. Furthermore, the results obtained support previous investigations demonstrating that mycobacterial infection is associated with host transcriptional suppression. These data support the use of transcriptomic technologies to enable the identification of robust, reliable transcriptional markers of active M. bovis infection.
    • Genomic prediction of crown rust resistance in Lolium perenne

      Arojju, Sai Krishna; Conaghan, Patrick; Barth, Susanne; Milbourne, Dan; Casler, M.D.; Hodkinson, Trevor R; Michel, Thibauld; Byrne, Stephen L.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; Marie Sklodowska-Curie; et al. (Biomed Central, 29/05/2018)
      Background Genomic selection (GS) can accelerate genetic gains in breeding programmes by reducing the time it takes to complete a cycle of selection. Puccinia coronata f. sp lolli (crown rust) is one of the most widespread diseases of perennial ryegrass and can lead to reductions in yield, persistency and nutritional value. Here, we used a large perennial ryegrass population to assess the accuracy of using genome wide markers to predict crown rust resistance and to investigate the factors affecting predictive ability. Results Using these data, predictive ability for crown rust resistance in the complete population reached a maximum of 0.52. Much of the predictive ability resulted from the ability of markers to capture genetic relationships among families within the training set, and reducing the marker density had little impact on predictive ability. Using permutation based variable importance measure and genome wide association studies (GWAS) to identify and rank markers enabled the identification of a small subset of SNPs that could achieve predictive abilities close to those achieved using the complete marker set. Conclusion Using a GWAS to identify and rank markers enabled a small panel of markers to be identified that could achieve higher predictive ability than the same number of randomly selected markers, and predictive abilities close to those achieved with the entire marker set. This was particularly evident in a sub-population characterised by having on-average higher genome-wide linkage disequilibirum (LD). Higher predictive abilities with selected markers over random markers suggests they are in LD with QTL. Accuracy due to genetic relationships will decay rapidly over generations whereas accuracy due to LD will persist, which is advantageous for practical breeding applications.
    • Genomic regions associated with muscularity in beef cattle differ in five contrasting cattle breeds

      Doyle, Jennifer L; Berry, Donagh; Veerkamp, Roel F; Carthy, Tara R; Evans, Ross D; Walsh, Siobhán W; Purfield, Deirdre C; Science Foundation Ireland; SF 14/IA/2576; 16/RC/3835 (2020-01-30)
      Background Linear type traits, which reflect the muscular characteristics of an animal, could provide insight into how, in some cases, morphologically very different animals can yield the same carcass weight. Such variability may contribute to differences in the overall value of the carcass since primal cuts vary greatly in price; such variability may also hinder successful genome-based association studies. Therefore, the objective of our study was to identify genomic regions that are associated with five muscularity linear type traits and to determine if these significant regions are common across five different breeds. Analyses were carried out using linear mixed models on imputed whole-genome sequence data in each of the five breeds, separately. Then, the results of the within-breed analyses were used to conduct an across-breed meta-analysis per trait. Results We identified many quantitative trait loci (QTL) that are located across the whole genome and associated with each trait in each breed. The only commonality among the breeds and traits was a large-effect pleiotropic QTL on BTA2 that contained the MSTN gene, which was associated with all traits in the Charolais and Limousin breeds. Other plausible candidate genes were identified for muscularity traits including PDE1A, PPP1R1C and multiple collagen and HOXD genes. In addition, associated (gene ontology) GO terms and KEGG pathways tended to differ between breeds and between traits especially in the numerically smaller populations of Angus, Hereford, and Simmental breeds. Most of the SNPs that were associated with any of the traits were intergenic or intronic SNPs located within regulatory regions of the genome. Conclusions The commonality between the Charolais and Limousin breeds indicates that the genetic architecture of the muscularity traits may be similar in these breeds due to their similar origins. Conversely, there were vast differences in the QTL associated with muscularity in Angus, Hereford, and Simmental. Knowledge of these differences in genetic architecture between breeds is useful to develop accurate genomic prediction equations that can operate effectively across breeds. Overall, the associated QTL differed according to trait, which suggests that breeding for a morphologically different (e.g. longer and wider versus shorter and smaller) more efficient animal may become possible in the future.