The study entitled “Genome-wide association study for endocrine fertility traits using single nucleotide polymorphism arrays and sequence variants in dairy cattle” identified several potential candidate genes, and DNA variants that can contribute to an index of markers for genetic improvement of fertility in dairy cattle.
In this paper, the whole genome of dairy cows was screened for associations with several fertility traits based on milk progesterone concentration, such as commencement of luteal activity. In total, 17 genomic regions where identified. Fine-mapping target regions on chromosomes 2 and 3, using imputed sequence variants identified several potential candidate genes, and variants that can contribute to an index of markers for genetic improvement of fertility.
Progesterone based fertility traits
Endocrine fertility traits were defined from progesterone concentration levels in milk. These endocrine fertility traits are good indicators for fertility in dairy cows because they are less biased by farm management decisions, have higher heritability, and more directly reflect a cow’s reproductive physiology than classical traits derived from insemination and calving data. Hence endocrine fertility traits might be more useful to detect genomic regions associated to fertility. This is one of the few studies that has attempted to locate genomic regions associated to endocrine fertility traits, and the findings in this study help to shed more light on the genetic architecture and underlying biology of fertility in dairy cattle.
Article honoured “Editor’s choice”
The article was honoured “Editor’s choice” by the editor-in-chief and fertility expert, Matt Lucy. The article will be featured prominently on the homepage of the Journal of Dairy Science for the month of July. The article is also included in the Editor’s Choice Collection, where it is freely accessible to all.
The Open Access paper can be found here.