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Genetic markers that influence feed efficiency phenotypes also affect cattle temperament as measured by flight speed

Lindholm‐Perry, A. K., Kuehn, L. A., Freetly, H. C., Snelling, W. M.
Animal genetics 2015 v.46 no.1 pp. 60-64
animal genetics, average daily gain, beef cattle, economic valuation, feed conversion, feed intake, genes, genetic markers, glutamic acid, marker-assisted selection, phenotype, receptors, single nucleotide polymorphism, temperament
Flight speed is a predictive indicator of cattle temperament and is associated with feed efficiency phenotypes. Genetic markers associated with both traits may assist with selection of calmer animals with improved economic value. A preliminary genome‐wide association study determined chromosomal regions on BTA9, and 17 were associated with flight speed. The genes quaking (QKI), glutamate receptor, ionotropic, AMPA 2 (GRIA2) and glycine receptor β (GLRB) were identified in these regions as potential functional candidates. Beef steers (n = 1057) were genotyped with SNPs located within and flanking these genes. One SNP located near QKI and one near GRIA2 were nominally associated with flight speed (P ≤ 0.05) although neither was significant after Bonferroni correction. Several studies have shown a correlation between flight speed and feed intake or gain; therefore, we also analyzed SNPs on BTA6:38–39 Mb known to be associated with average daily gain (ADG) and average daily feed intake (ADFI) for association with flight speed. Several SNPs on BTA6 were associated with flight speed (P ≤ 0.005), and three were significant after Bonferroni correction. These results suggest that the genes tested are unlikely to contribute to flight speed variation for our cattle population, but SNPs on BTA6 associated with ADG and ADFI may influence temperament. Use of these markers to select for economically important feed efficiency phenotypes may produce cattle with more desirable temperaments.