Research Article

Genetic correlation and genome-wide association study (GWAS) of the length of productive life, days open, and 305-days milk yield in crossbred Holstein dairy cattle.

Published: June 29, 2017
Genet. Mol. Res. 16(2): gmr16029091 DOI:


In this study, we estimated the genetic parameters and identified the putative quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with the length of productive life (LPL), days open (DO), and 305-day milk yield for the first lactation (FM305) of crossbred Holstein dairy cattle. Data comprising 4,739 records collected between 1986 and 2004 were used to estimate the variance-covariance components using the multiple-trait animal linear mixed models based on the average information restricted maximum likelihood (AI-REML) algorithm. Thirty-six animals were genotyped using the Illumina BovineSNP50 Bead Chip [>50,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)] to identify the putative QTL in a genome-wide association study. The heritability of the production trait FM305 was 0.25 and that of the functional traits, LPL and DO, was low (0.10 and 0.06, respectively). The genetic correlation estimates demonstrated favorable negative correlations between LPL and DO (-0.02). However, we observed a favorable positive correlation between FM305 and LPL (0.43) and an unfavorable positive correlation between FM305 and DO (0.1). The GWAS results indicated that 23 QTLs on bovine chromosomes 1, 4, 5, 8, 15, 26, and X were associated with the traits of interest, and the putative QTL regions were identified within seven genes (SYT1, DOCK11, KLHL13, IL13RA1, PRKG1, GNA14, and LRRC4C). In conclusion, the heritability estimates of the LPL and DO were low. Therefore, the approach of multiple-trait selection indexes should be applied, and the QTL identified here should be considered for use in marker-assisted selection in the future.