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J Dairy Sci. 2007 Jun;90(6):2971-9.

Statistical modeling of candidate gene effects on milk production traits in dairy cattle.

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Department of Animal Genetics, Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences, 51-631, Poland.


A major objective of dairy cattle genomic research is to identify genes underlying the variability of milk production traits that could be useful in breeding programs. The candidate gene approach provides tools for searching for causative polymorphisms affecting quantitative traits. Genes with a possible effect on milk traits in cattle can be involved in different physiological pathways, such as triglyceride synthesis [acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1 gene (DGAT1)], fat secretion from the mammary epithelial tissue (butyrophilin), or entire-body energy homeostasis regulation (leptin and leptin receptor). In this study, based on data from 252 Black and White bulls from the active Polish dairy population, effects and potential interactions of 9 single nucleotide polymorphisms in the butyrophilin, DGAT1, leptin, and leptin receptor genes were investigated. Additionally, the effect of the number of additive, dominance, and epistatic genetic effects fitted into the model on the estimates of model parameters and model selection was illustrated. Phenotypic records were daughter yield deviations for milk, fat, and protein yields, obtained from a routine national genetic evaluation. Out of all the analyzed polymorphisms, DGAT1 K232A had a much larger effect on milk traits than the other single nucleotide polymorphisms considered. Estimates of the additive genetic effect of K232A expressed as half of the difference between Lys- and Ala-encoding variants were -107.4 kg of milk, 5.4 kg of fat, and -1.6 kg of protein at first parity, as well as -120 kg of milk and 6.8 kg of fat at second parity. In terms of model selection, it was demonstrated that the modified version of Bayesian information criterion selects models with the parameterization reflecting the genetic background of the analyzed trait, while the Bayesian information criterion chooses models that are too highly parameterized.

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