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Asian-Australas J Anim Sci. 2016 Nov;29(11):1530-1540. Epub 2016 Sep 9.

Genetic Parameters of Milk β-Hydroxybutyric Acid and Acetone and Their Genetic Association with Milk Production Traits of Holstein Cattle.

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Division of Animal and Dairy Science, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 34134, Korea.
National Institute of Animal Science, RDA, Cheonan, 31000, Korea.


This study was conducted to estimate the genetic parameters of β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) and acetone concentration in milk by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy along with test-day milk production traits including fat %, protein % and milk yield based on monthly samples of milk obtained as part of a routine milk recording program in Korea. Additionally, the feasibility of using such data in the official dairy cattle breeding system for selection of cows with low susceptibility of ketosis was evaluated. A total of 57,190 monthly test-day records for parities 1, 2, and 3 of 7,895 cows with pedigree information were collected from April 2012 to August 2014 from herds enrolled in the Korea Animal Improvement Association. Multi-trait random regression models were separately applied to estimate genetic parameters of test-day records for each parity. The model included fixed herd test-day effects, calving age and season effects, and random regressions for additive genetic and permanent environmental effects. Abundance of variation of acetone may provide a more sensitive indication of ketosis than many zero observations in concentration of milk BHBA. Heritabilities of milk BHBA levels ranged from 0.04 to 0.17 with a mean of 0.09 for the interval between 4 and 305 days in milk during three lactations. The average heritabilities for milk acetone concentration were 0.29, 0.29, and 0.22 for parities 1, 2, and 3, respectively. There was no clear genetic association of the concentration of two ketone bodies with three test-day milk production traits, even if some correlations among breeding values of the test-day records in this study were observed. These results suggest that genetic selection for low susceptibility of ketosis in early lactation is possible. Further, it is desirable for the breeding scheme of dairy cattle to include the records of milk acetone rather than the records of milk BHBA.


Genetic Parameters; Ketosis; Milk Acetone; Milk Composition; Milk β-Hydroxybutyrate

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