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Genome-Wide Association Mapping for Identification of Quantitative Trait Loci for Rectal Temperature during Heat Stress in Holstein Cattle

Dikmen, Serdal, Cole, John B., Null, Daniel J., Hansen, Peter J.
Plos One 2013 v.8 no.7
Holstein, adaptation, animal performance, animal stress, body temperature, chromosome mapping, dairy bulls, dairy cows, genes, genetic variance, genotype, heat stress, heat tolerance, lactation, quantitative trait loci, rectum, single nucleotide polymorphism, stress response, thermoregulation, variance
Heat stress compromises production, fertility, and health of dairy cattle. One mitigation strategy is to select individuals that are genetically resistant to heat stress. Most of the negative effects of heat stress on animal performance are a consequence of either physiological adaptations to regulate body temperature or adverse consequences of failure to regulate body temperature. Thus, selection for regulation of body temperature during heat stress could increase thermotolerance. The objective was to perform a genome-wide association study (GWAS) for rectal temperature (RT) during heat stress in lactating Holstein cows and identify SNPs associated with genes that have large effects on RT. Records on afternoon RT where the temperature-humidity index was ≥78.2 were obtained from 4,447 cows sired by 220 bulls, resulting in 1,440 useable genotypes from the Illumina BovineSNP50 BeadChip with 39,759 SNP. For GWAS, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 10 adjacent SNP were averaged to identify consensus genomic regions associated with RT. The largest proportion of SNP variance (0.07 to 0.44%) was explained by markers flanking the region between 28,877,547 and 28,907,154 bp on Bos taurus autosome (BTA) 24. That region is flanked by U1 (28,822,883 to 28,823,043) and NCAD (28,992,666 to 29,241,119). In addition, the SNP at 58,500,249 bp on BTA 16 explained 0.08% and 0.11% of the SNP variance for 2- and 3-SNP analyses, respectively. That contig includes SNORA19, RFWD2 and SCARNA3. Other SNPs associated with RT were located on BTA 16 (close to CEP170 and PLD5), BTA 5 (near SLCO1C1 and PDE3A), BTA 4 (near KBTBD2 and LSM5), and BTA 26 (located in GOT1, a gene implicated in protection from cellular stress). In conclusion, there are QTL for RT in heat-stressed dairy cattle. These SNPs could prove useful in genetic selection and for identification of genes involved in physiological responses to heat stress.