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Whole-genome scan reveals significant non-additive effects for sire conception rate in Holstein cattle

Nicolini, Paula, Amorín, Rocío, Han, Yi, Peñagaricano, Francisco
BMC genetics 2018 v.19 no.1 pp. 14
Holstein, additive effect, bulls, chromosome mapping, chromosomes, conception rate, dairy cattle, genes, genomics, male fertility, marker-assisted selection, reproductive success, single nucleotide polymorphism, sires, spermatozoa, testes
BACKGROUND: Service sire has a considerable impact on reproductive success in dairy cattle. Most gene mapping studies for bull fertility have focused on additive effects, while non-additive effects have been largely ignored. The main goal of this study was to assess the relevance of non-additive effects on Sire Conception Rate (SCR) in Holstein dairy cattle. The analysis included 7.5 k Holstein bulls with both SCR records and 57.8 k single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers spanning the entire genome. RESULTS: The importance of non-additive effects was evaluated using an efficient two-step mixed model-based approach. Four genomic regions located on chromosomes BTA8, BTA9, BTA13 and BTA17 showed marked dominance and/or recessive effects. Most of these regions harbor genes, such as ADAM28, DNAJA1, TBC1D20, SPO11, PIWIL3 and TMEM119, that are directly implicated in testis development, male germ line maintenance, and sperm maturation. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides further evidence for the relevance of non-additive effects in fitness-related traits, such as male fertility. In addition, these findings may point out new strategies for improving service sire fertility in dairy cattle via marker-assisted selection.