Section 67
Chapter 66,619

Genetic and genomic analyses of latent variables related to the milk fatty acid profile, milk composition, and udder health in dairy cattle

Cecchinato, A.; Macciotta, N.P.P.; Mele, M.; Tagliapietra, F.; Schiavon, S.; Bittante, G.; Pegolo, S.

Journal of Dairy Science 102(6): 5254-5265


ISSN/ISBN: 1525-3198
PMID: 30904297
DOI: 10.3168/jds.2018-15867
Accession: 066618880

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The aim of this study was to perform genetic, genome-wide association (GWAS), and gene-set enrichment analyses with latent variables related to milk fatty acid profile (i.e., fatty acids factor scores; FAF), milk composition, and udder health in a cohort of 1,158 Italian Brown Swiss cows. The phenotypes under study were 12 FAF previously identified through factor analysis and classified as follows: de novo FA (F1), branched-chain FA-milk yield (F2), biohydrogenation (F3), long-chain fatty acids (F4), desaturation (F5), short-chain fatty acids (F6), milk protein and fat contents (F7), odd fatty acids (F8), conjugated linoleic acids (F9), linoleic acid (F10), udder health (F11) and vaccelenic acid (F12). (Co)variance components were estimated for factor scores using a Bayesian linear animal model via Gibbs sampling. The animals were genotyped with the Illumina BovineSNP50 BeadChip v.2 (Illumina Inc., San Diego, CA). A single marker regression model was fitted for GWAS analysis. The gene-set enrichment analysis was run on the GWAS results using the Gene Ontology and the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway databases to identify the ontologies and pathways associated with the FAF. Marginal posterior means of the heritabilities of the aforementioned FAF ranged from 0.048 for F12 to 0.310 for F5. Factors F1 and F6 had the highest number of relevant genetic correlations with the other traits. The genomic analysis detected a total of 39 significant SNP located on 17 Bos taurus autosomes. All latent variables produced signals except for F2 and F10. The traits with the highest number of significant associations were F11 (17) and F12 (7). Gene-set enrichment analyses identified significant pathways (false discovery rate 5%) for F3 and F7. In particular, systemic lupus erythematosus was enriched for F3, whereas the MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) signaling pathway was overrepresented for F7. The results support the existence of important and exploitable genetic and genomic variation in these latent explanatory phenotypes. Information acquired might be exploited in selection programs and when designing further studies on the role of the putative candidate genes identified in the regulation of milk composition and udder health.

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