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Anim Genet. 2009 Apr;40(2):176-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2052.2008.01815.x. Epub 2008 Dec 5.

A genome map of divergent artificial selection between Bos taurus dairy cattle and Bos taurus beef cattle.

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Cooperative Research Centre for Beef Genetic Technologies, CJ Hawkins Homestead, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.


A number of cattle breeds have become highly specialized for milk or beef production, following strong artificial selection for these traits. In this paper, we compare allele frequencies from 9323 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers genotyped in dairy and beef cattle breeds averaged in sliding windows across the genome, with the aim of identifying divergently selected regions of the genome between the production types. The value of the method for identifying selection signatures was validated by four sources of evidence. First, differences in allele frequencies between dairy and beef cattle at individual SNPs were correlated with the effects of those SNPs on production traits. Secondly, large differences in allele frequencies generally occurred in the same location for two independent data sets (correlation 0.45) between sliding window averages. Thirdly, the largest differences in sliding window average difference in allele frequencies were found on chromosome 20 in the region of the growth hormone receptor gene, which carries a mutation known to have an effect on milk production traits in a number of dairy populations. Finally, for the chromosome tested, the location of selection signatures between dairy and beef cattle was correlated with the location of selection signatures within dairy cattle.

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