A Genome Scan To Identify Quantitative Trait Loci Affecting Economically Important Traits in a US Holstein Population

M. S. Ashwell, C. P. Van Tassell, and T. S. Sonstegard
Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, MD 20705

ABSTRACT Quantitative trait loci affecting economically important traits were studied for eight large US Holstein grandsire families by using the granddaughter design. A total of 155 microsatellite markers located throughout the bovine genome were selected for the scan. The data analyzed include genotypes for 50 markers not previously reported. Results analyses of 105 marker genotypes reported previously were updated. Effects of marker alleles were analyzed for 38 traits including traits for milk production, somatic cell score, productive life, conformation, calving ease, and 16 canonical traits derived from conformation and production traits. Permutation tests were used to calculate empirical traitwise error rates. A traitwise critical value of P = 0.1 was used to determine significance. Ten putative quantitative trait loci associated with seven of the new markers were identified within specific families. One marker on chromosome 14 was associated with differences in fat yield, fat percentage, and a canonical production trait in two families. Markers on chromosomes 18 and 22 were associated with differences in rump angle in the same family. Markers were associated with differences in udder depth and fore udder attachment on chromosomes 16 and 20, respectively. One marker on chromosome 27 was associated with a difference in the dairy capacity composite index, and another marker on chromosome 13 was associated with a difference in a canonical conformation trait. These additional markers complete our genome scan to identify quantitative trait loci affecting economically important traits in a selected commercial Holstein population. The quantitative trait loci identified in this genome scan may be useful for marker-assisted selection to increase the rate of genetic improvement on traits such as disease resistance and conformation traits associated with fitness while accelerating genetic improvement for production.

(Key words: quantitative trait loci, microsatellite markers, conformation traits, milk production traits)

2001 J. Dairy Sci. 84:2535-2542

© 2001, by the American Dairy Science Association. All rights reserved.