Genome-wide association studies of fertility and calving traits in Brown Swiss cattle using imputed whole-genome sequences.
ABSTRACT: The detection of quantitative trait loci has accelerated with recent developments in genomics. The introduction of genomic selection in combination with sequencing efforts has made a large amount of genotypic data available. Functional traits such as fertility and calving traits have been included in routine genomic estimation of breeding values making large quantities of phenotypic data available for these traits. This data was used to investigate the genetics underlying fertility and calving traits and to identify potentially causative genomic regions and variants. We performed genome-wide association studies for 13 functional traits related to female fertility as well as for direct and maternal calving ease based on imputed whole-genome sequences. Deregressed breeding values from ~1000-5000 bulls per trait were used to test for associations with approximately 10 million imputed sequence SNPs.We identified a QTL on BTA17 associated with non-return rate at 56 days and with interval from first to last insemination. We found two significantly associated non-synonymous SNPs within this QTL region. Two more QTL for fertility traits were identified on BTA25 and 29. A single QTL was identified for maternal calving traits on BTA13 whereas three QTL on BTA19, 21 and 25 were identified for direct calving traits. The QTL on BTA19 co-localizes with the reported BH2 haplotype. The QTL on BTA25 is concordant for fertility and calving traits and co-localizes with a QTL previously reported to influence stature and related traits in Brown Swiss dairy cattle.The detection of QTL and their causative variants remains challenging. Combining comprehensive phenotypic data with imputed whole genome sequences seems promising. We present a QTL on BTA17 for female fertility in dairy cattle with two significantly associated non-synonymous SNPs, along with five additional QTL for fertility traits and calving traits. For all of these we fine mapped the regions and suggest candidate genes and candidate variants.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Genome-wide association analysis is a powerful tool for annotating phenotypic effects on the genome and knowledge of genes and chromosomal regions associated with dairy phenotypes is useful for genome and gene-based selection. Here, we report results of a genome-wide analysis of predicted transmitting ability (PTA) of 31 production, health, reproduction and body conformation traits in contemporary Holstein cows. RESULTS: Genome-wide association analysis identified a number of candidate genes and chromosome regions associated with 31 dairy traits in contemporary U.S. Holstein cows. Highly significant genes and chromosome regions include: BTA13's GNAS region for milk, fat and protein yields; BTA7's INSR region and BTAX's LOC520057 and GRIA3 for daughter pregnancy rate, somatic cell score and productive life; BTA2's LRP1B for somatic cell score; BTA14's DGAT1-NIBP region for fat percentage; BTA1's FKBP2 for protein yields and percentage, BTA26's MGMT and BTA6's PDGFRA for protein percentage; BTA18's 53.9-58.7 Mb region for service-sire and daughter calving ease and service-sire stillbirth; BTA18's PGLYRP1-IGFL1 region for a large number of traits; BTA18's LOC787057 for service-sire stillbirth and daughter calving ease; BTA15's CD82, BTA23's DST and the MOCS1-LRFN2 region for daughter stillbirth; and BTAX's LOC520057 and GRIA3 for daughter pregnancy rate. For body conformation traits, BTA11, BTAX, BTA10, BTA5, and BTA26 had the largest concentrations of SNP effects, and PHKA2 of BTAX and REN of BTA16 had the most significant effects for body size traits. For body shape traits, BTAX, BTA19 and BTA3 were most significant. Udder traits were affected by BTA16, BTA22, BTAX, BTA2, BTA10, BTA11, BTA20, BTA22 and BTA25, teat traits were affected by BTA6, BTA7, BTA9, BTA16, BTA11, BTA26 and BTA17, and feet/legs traits were affected by BTA11, BTA13, BTA18, BTA20, and BTA26. CONCLUSIONS: Genome-wide association analysis identified a number of genes and chromosome regions associated with 31 production, health, reproduction and body conformation traits in contemporary Holstein cows. The results provide useful information for annotating phenotypic effects on the dairy genome and for building consensus of dairy QTL effects.
Project description:Female fertility is an important trait in cattle breeding programs. In the Nordic countries selection is based on a fertility index (FTI). The fertility index is a weighted combination of four female fertility traits estimated breeding values for number of inseminations per conception (AIS), 56-day non-return rate (NRR), number of days from first to last insemination (IFL), and number of days between calving and first insemination (ICF). The objective of this study was to identify associations between sequence variants and fertility traits in Jersey cattle based on 1,225 Jersey sires from Denmark with official breeding values for female fertility traits. The association analyses were carried out in two steps: first the cattle genome was scanned for quantitative trait loci using a sire model for FTI using imputed whole genome sequence variants; second the significant quantitative trait locus regions were re-analyzed using a linear mixed model (animal model) for both FTI and its component traits AIS, NRR, IFL and ICF. The underlying traits were analyzed separately for heifers (first parity cows) and cows (later parity cows) for AIS, NRR, and IFL.In the first step 6 QTL were detected for FTI: one QTL on each of BTA7, BTA20, BTA23, BTA25, and two QTL on BTA9 (QTL9-1 and QTL9-2). In the second step, ICF showed association with the QTL regions on BTA7, QTL9-2 QTL2 on BTA9, and BTA25, AIS for cows on BTA20 and BTA23, AIS for heifers on QTL9-2 on BTA9, IFL for cows on BTA20, BTA23 and BTA25, IFL for heifers on BTA7 and QTL9-2 on BTA9, NRR for heifers on BTA7 and BTA23, and NRR for cows on BTA23.The genome wide association study presented here revealed 6 genomic regions associated with FTI. Screening these 6 QTL regions for the underlying female fertility traits revealed that different female fertility traits showed associations with different subsets of the individual FTI QTL peaks. The result of this study contributed to a better insight into the genetic control of FTI in the Danish Jersey.
Project description:Multitrait meta-analyses are a strategy to produce more accurate genome-wide association studies, especially for complex phenotypes. We carried out a meta-analysis study for traits related to sexual precocity in tropical beef cattle (Nellore and Brahman) aiming to identify important genomic regions affecting these traits. The traits included in the analyses were age at first calving (AFC), early pregnancy (EP), age at first corpus luteum (AGECL), first postpartum anoestrus interval (PPAI), and scrotal circumference (SC). The traits AFC, EP, and SCN were measured in Nellore cattle, while AGECL, PPAI, and SCB were measured in Brahman cattle. Meta-analysis resulted in 108 significant single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), at an empirical threshold P-value of 1.39 × 10-5 (false discovery rate [FDR] < 0.05). Within 0.5 Mb of the significant SNP, candidate genes were annotated and analyzed for functional enrichment. Most of the closest genes to the SNP with higher significance in each chromosome have been associated with important roles in reproductive function. They are TSC22D2, KLF7, ARHGAP29, 7SK, MAP3K5, TLE3, WDR5, TAF3, TMEM68, PPP1R15B, NR2F2, GALR1, SUFU, and KCNU1. We did not observe any significant SNP in BTA5, BTA12, BTA17, BTA18, BTA19, BTA20, BTA22, BTA23, BTA25, and BTA28. Although the majority of significant SNPs are in BTA14, it was identified significant associations in multiple chromosomes (19 out of 29 autosomes), which is consistent with the postulation that reproductive traits are complex polygenic phenotypes. Five proposed association regions harbor the majority of the significant SNP (76%) and were distributed over four chromosomes (P < 1.39 × 10-5, FDR < 0.05): BTA2 (5.55%) from 95 to 96 Mb, BTA4 (5.55%) from 94.1 to 94.8 Mb, BTA14 (59.26%) from 24 to 25 Mb and 29 to 30 Mb, and BTA21 (5.55%) from 6.7 Mb to 11.4 Mb. These regions harbored key genes related to reproductive function. Moreover, these genes were enriched for functional groups associated with immune response, maternal-fetal tolerance, pregnancy maintenance, embryo development, fertility, and response to stress. Further studies including other breeds and precocity traits could confirm the importance of these regions and identify new candidate regions for sexual precocity in beef cattle.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Female fertility is important for the maintenance of the production in a dairy cattle herd. Two QTL regions on BTA04 and on BTA13 previously detected in Nordic Holstein (NH) and validated in the Danish Jersey (DJ) and Nordic Red (NR) were investigated further in the present study to further refine the QTL locations. Refined QTL regions were imputed to the full sequence data. The genes in the regions were then studied to ascertain their possible effect on fertility traits. RESULTS: BTA04 was screened for number of inseminations (AIS), 56-day non-return rate (NRR), days from first to last insemination (IFL), and the interval from calving to first insemination (ICF) in the range of 38,257,758 to 40,890,784 bp, whereas BTA13 was screened for ICF only in the range from 21,236,959 to 46,150,079 with the HD bovine SNP array for NH, DJ and NR. No markers in the DJ and NR breeds reached significance. By analyzing imputed sequence data the QTL position on BTA04 was narrowed down to two regions in the NH. In these two regions a total of 9 genes were identified. BTA13 was analyzed using sequence data for the NH breed. The highest -log10(P-value) was 19.41 at 33,903,159 bp. Two regions were identified: Region 1: 33,900,143-33,908,994 bp and Region 2: 34,051,815-34,056,728 bp. SNPs within and between these two regions were annotated as intergenic. CONCLUSION: Screening BTA04 and BTA13 for female fertility traits in NH, NR and DJ suggested that the QTL for female fertility were specific for NH. A missense mutation in CD36 showed the strongest association with fertility traits on BTA04. The annotated SNPs on BTA13 were all intergenic variants. It is possible that BTA13 at this stage is poorly annotated such that the associated polymorphisms are located in as-yet undiscovered genes. Fertility traits are complex traits as many different biological and physiological factors determine whether a cow is fertile. Therefore it is not expected that there is a simple explanation with an obvious candidate gene but it is more likely a network of genes and intragenic variants that explain the variation of these traits.
Project description:The Nordic Red Cattle (NRC) consists of animls belonging to the Danish Red, Finnish Ayrshire, and Swedish Red breeds. Compared to the Holstein breed, NRC animals are smaller, have a shorter calving interval, lower mastitis incidence and lower rates of stillborn calves, however they produce less milk, fat and protein. Female fertility is an important trait for the dairy cattle farmer. Selection decisions in female fertilty in NRC are based on the female fertility index (FTI). FTI is a composite index including a number of sub-indices describing aspects of female fertility in dairy cattle. The sub-traits of FTI are: number of inseminations per conception (AIS) in cows (C) and heifers (H), the length in days of the interval from calving to first insemination (ICF) in cows, days from first to last insemination (IFL) in cows and heifers, and 56-day non-return rate (NRR) in cows and heifers. The aim of this study was first to identify QTL for FTI by conducting a genome scan for variants associated with fertility index using imputed whole genome sequence data based on 4207 Nordic Red sires, and subsequently analyzing which of the sub-traits were affected by each FTI QTL by associating them with the sub-traits.A total 17,388 significant SNP markers (-log10(P)?> 8.25) were detected for FTI distributed over 25 chromosomes. The chromosomes with the most significant markers were tested for associations with the underlying sub-traits: BTA1 (822 SNP), BTA2 (220 SNP), BTA3 (83 SNP), BTA5 (195 SNP), two regions on BTA6 (503 SNP), BTA13 (980 SNP), BTA15 (23 SNP), BTA20 (345 SNP), and BTA24 (104 SNP). The fertility traits underlying the FTI peak area were: BTA1 (IFLC, IFLH), BTA2 (AISH, IFLH, NRRH), BTA3 (AISH, NRRH), BTA5 (AISC, AISH, IFLH), BTA6 (region 1: AISH, NRRH; region 2: AISH, IFLH), BTA13 (IFLH, IFLC), BTA15 (IFLC, NRRH), and BTA24 (AISH, IFLH). For BTA20 all sub-traits had SNP markers with a -log10(P)?> 10. Furthermore the genes assigned to the most significant SNP for FTI were located on BTA6 (GPR125), BTA13 (ANKRD60), BTA15 (GRAMD1B), and BTA24 (ZNF521).This study 1) shows that many markers within FTI QTL regions were significantly associated with both AISH and IFLH, and 2) identified candidate genes for FTI located on BTA6 (GPR125), BTA13 (ANKRD60), BTA15 (GRAMD1B), and BTA24 (ZNF521). It is not known how the genes/variants identified in this study regulate female fertility, however the majority of these genes were involved in protein binding, 3) a SNP in a QTL region for FTI on BTA20 was previously validated in three cattle breeds.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Little is known about the genetic architecture of economically important traits in Brown Swiss cattle because only few genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been carried out in this breed. Moreover, most GWAS have been performed for single traits, thus not providing detailed insights into potentially existing pleiotropic effects of trait-associated loci. RESULTS:To compile a comprehensive catalogue of large-effect quantitative trait loci (QTL) segregating in Brown Swiss cattle, we carried out association tests between partially imputed genotypes at 598,016 SNPs and daughter-derived phenotypes for more than 50 economically important traits, including milk production, growth and carcass quality, body conformation, reproduction and calving traits in 4578 artificial insemination bulls from two cohorts of Brown Swiss cattle (Austrian-German and Swiss populations). Across-cohort multi-trait meta-analyses of the results from the single-trait GWAS revealed 25 quantitative trait loci (QTL; P < 8.36 × 10- 8) for economically relevant traits on 17 Bos taurus autosomes (BTA). Evidence of pleiotropy was detected at five QTL located on BTA5, 6, 17, 21 and 25. Of these, two QTL at BTA6:90,486,780 and BTA25:1,455,150 affect a diverse range of economically important traits, including traits related to body conformation, calving, longevity and milking speed. Furthermore, the QTL at BTA6:90,486,780 seems to be a target of ongoing selection as evidenced by an integrated haplotype score of 2.49 and significant changes in allele frequency over the past 25 years, whereas either no or only weak evidence of selection was detected at all other QTL. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings provide a comprehensive overview of QTL segregating in Brown Swiss cattle. Detected QTL explain between 2 and 10% of the variation in the estimated breeding values and thus may be considered as the most important QTL segregating in the Brown Swiss cattle breed. Multi-trait association testing boosts the power to detect pleiotropic QTL and assesses the full spectrum of phenotypes that are affected by trait-associated variants.
Project description:Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are a powerful tool for detecting genomic regions explaining variation in phenotype. The objectives of the present study were to identify or refine the positions of genomic regions affecting milk production, milk components and fertility traits in Canadian Holstein cattle, and to use these positions to identify genes and pathways that may influence these traits.Several QTL regions were detected for milk production (MILK), fat production (FAT), protein production (PROT) and fat and protein deviation (FATD, PROTD respectively). The identified QTL regions for production traits (including milk production) support previous findings and some overlap with genes with known relevant biological functions identified in earlier studies such as DGAT1 and CPSF1. A significant region on chromosome 21 overlapping with the gene FAM181A and not previous linked to fertility in dairy cattle was identified for the calving to first service interval and days open. A functional enrichment analysis of the GWAS results yielded GO terms consistent with the specific phenotypes tested, for example GO terms GO:0007595 (lactation) and GO:0043627 (response to estrogen) for milk production (MILK), GO:0051057 (positive regulation of small GTPase mediated signal transduction) for fat production (FAT), GO:0040019 (positive regulation of embryonic development) for first service to calving interval (CTFS) and GO:0043268 (positive regulation of potassium ion transport) for days open (DO). In other cases the connection between the enriched GO terms and the traits were less clear, for example GO:0003279 (cardiac septum development) for FAT and GO:0030903 (notochord development) for DO trait.The chromosomal regions and enriched pathways identified in this study confirm several previous findings and highlight new regions and pathways that may contribute to variation in production or fertility traits in dairy cattle.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are extensively used to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) underlying the genetic variation of complex traits. However, much uncertainly often still exists about the causal variants and genes at quantitative trait loci (QTL). The aim of this study was to identify QTL associated with residual feed intake (RFI) and genes in these regions whose expression is also associated with this trait. Angus cattle (2190 steers) with RFI records were genotyped and imputed to high density arrays (770?K) and used for a GWAS approach to identify QTL associated with RFI. RNA sequences from 126 Angus divergently selected for RFI were analyzed to identify the genes whose expression was significantly associated this trait with special attention to those genes residing in the QTL regions. RESULTS:The heritability for RFI estimated for this Angus population was 0.3. In a GWAS, we identified 78 SNPs associated with RFI on six QTL (on BTA1, BTA6, BTA14, BTA17, BTA20 and BTA26). The most significant SNP was found on chromosome BTA20 (rs42662073) and explained 4% of the genetic variance. The minor allele frequencies of significant SNPs ranged from 0.05 to 0.49. All regions, except on BTA17, showed a significant dominance effect. In 1?Mb windows surrounding the six significant QTL, we found 149 genes from which OAS2, STC2, SHOX, XKR4, and SGMS1 were the closest to the most significant QTL on BTA17, BTA20, BTA1, BTA14, and BTA26, respectively. In a 2?Mb windows around the six significant QTL, we identified 15 genes whose expression was significantly associated with RFI: BTA20) NEURL1B and CPEB4; BTA17) RITA1, CCDC42B, OAS2, RPL6, and ERP29; BTA26) A1CF, SGMS1, PAPSS2, and PTEN; BTA1) MFSD1 and RARRES1; BTA14) ATP6V1H and MRPL15. CONCLUSIONS:Our results showed six QTL regions associated with RFI in a beef Angus population where five of these QTL contained genes that have expression associated with this trait. Therefore, here we show that integrating information from gene expression and GWAS studies can help to better understand the genetic mechanisms that determine variation in complex traits.
Project description:Reducing the incidence of both the degree of assistance required at calving, as well as the extent of perinatal mortality (PM) has both economic and societal benefits. The existence of heritable genetic variability in both traits signifies the presence of underlying genomic variability. The objective of the present study was to locate regions of the genome, and by extension putative genes and mutations, that are likely to be underpinning the genetic variability in direct calving difficulty (DCD), maternal calving difficulty (MCD), and PM. Imputed whole-genome single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data on up to 8,304 Angus (AA), 17,175 Charolais (CH), 16,794 Limousin (LM), and 18,474 Holstein-Friesian (HF) sires representing 5,866,712 calving events from descendants were used. Several putative quantitative trait loci (QTL) regions associated with calving performance both within and across dairy and beef breeds were identified, although the majority were both breed- and trait-specific. QTL surrounding and encompassing the myostatin (MSTN) gene were associated (P < 5 × 10-8) with DCD and PM in both the CH and LM populations. The well-known Q204X mutation was the fifth strongest association with DCD in the CH population and accounted for 5.09% of the genetic variance in DCD. In contrast, none of the 259 segregating variants in MSTN were associated (P > × 10-6) with DCD in the LM population but a genomic region 617 kb downstream of MSTN was associated (P < 5 × 10-8). The genetic architecture for DCD differed in the HF population relative to the CH and LM, where two QTL encompassing ZNF613 on Bos taurus autosome (BTA)18 and PLAG1 on BTA14 were identified in the former. Pleiotropic SNP associated with all three calving performance traits were also identified in the three beef breeds; 5 SNP were pleiotropic in AA, 116 in LM, and 882 in CH but no SNP was associated with more than one trait within the HF population. The majority of these pleiotropic SNP were on BTA2 surrounding MSTN and were associated with both DCD and PM. Multiple previously reported, but also novel QTL, associated with calving performance were detected in this large study. These also included QTL regions harboring SNP with the same direction of allele substitution effect for both DCD and MCD thus contributing to a more effective simultaneous selection for both traits.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The genome-wide association study (GWAS) is a useful approach to identify genes affecting economically important traits in dairy cattle. Here, we report the results from a GWAS based on high-density SNP genotype data and estimated breeding values for nine production, fertility, body conformation, udder health and workability traits in the Brown Swiss cattle population that is part of the international genomic evaluation program. RESULT: GWASs were performed using 50?k SNP chip data and deregressed estimated breeding values (DEBVs) for nine traits from between 2061 and 5043 bulls that were part of the international genomic evaluation program coordinated by Interbull Center. The nine traits were milk yield (MY), fat yield (FY), protein yield (PY), lactating cow's ability to recycle after calving (CRC), angularity (ANG), body depth (BDE), stature (STA), milk somatic cell score (SCS) and milk speed (MSP). Analyses were performed using a linear mixed model correcting for population confounding. A total of 74 SNPs were detected to be genome-wide significantly associated with one or several of the nine analyzed traits. The strongest signal was identified on chromosome 25 for milk production traits, stature and body depth. Other signals were on chromosome 11 for angularity, chromosome 24 for somatic cell score, and chromosome 6 for milking speed. Some signals overlapped with earlier reported QTL for similar traits in other cattle populations and were located close to interesting candidate genes worthy of further investigations. CONCLUSIONS: Our study shows that international genetic evaluation data is a useful resource for identifying genetic factors influencing complex traits in livestock. Several genome wide significant association signals could be identified in the Brown Swiss population, including a major signal on BTA25. Our findings report several associations and plausible candidate genes that deserve further exploration in other populations and molecular dissection to explore the potential economic impact and the genetic mechanisms underlying these production traits in cattle.