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J Dairy Sci. 2004 Oct;87(10):3550-60.

Whole genome scan to detect chromosomal regions affecting multiple traits in dairy cattle.

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  • 1Animal Breeding and Genetics Group, Wageningen Institute of Animal Sciences, Wageningen University, The Netherlands.


Chromosomal regions affecting multiple traits (multiple trait quantitative trait regions or MQR) in dairy cattle were detected using a method based on results from single trait analyses to detect quantitative trait loci (QTL). The covariance between contrasts for different traits in single trait regression analysis was computed. A chromosomal region was considered an MQR when the observed covariance between contrasts deviated from the expected covariance under the null hypothesis of no pleiotropy or close linkage. The expected covariance and the confidence interval for the expected covariance were determined by permutation of the data. Four categories of traits were analyzed: production (5 traits), udder conformation (6 traits), udder health (2 traits), and fertility (2 traits). The analysis of a granddaughter design involving 833 sons of 20 grandsires resulted in 59 MQR (alpha = 0.01, chromosomewise). Fifteen MQR were found on Bos taurus autosome (BTA) 14. Four or more MQR were found on BTA 6, 13, 19, 22, 23, and 25. Eight MQR involving udder conformation and udder health and 4 MQR involving production traits and udder health were found. Five MQR were identified for combinations of fertility and udder conformation traits, and another 5 MQR were identified for combinations of fertility and production traits. For 22 MQR, the difference between the correlation attributable to the MQR and the overall genetic correlation was >0.60. Although the false discovery rate was relatively high (0.52), it was considered important to present these results to assess potential consequences of using these MQR for marker-assisted selection.

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