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Moran Gershoni

Joel Ira Weller

 Ephraim Ezra

 

Yearling weight gain in male and female Israeli Holstein calves, defined as 365 × ((weight − 35)/age at weight) + 35, was analyzed from 814,729 records on 368,255 animals from 740 herds recorded between 1994 and 2021. The variance components were calculated based on valid records from 2008 through 2017 for each sex separately and both sexes jointly by a single-trait individual animal model analysis, which accounted for repeat records on animals. The analysis model also included the square root, linear, and quadratic effects of age at weight. Heritability and repeatability were 0.35 and 0.71 in the analysis of both sexes and similar in the single sex analyses. The regression of yearling weight gain on birth date in the complete data set was −0.96 kg/year. The complete data set was also analyzed by the same model as the variance component analysis, including both sexes and accounting for differing variance components for each sex. The genetic trend for yearling weight gain, including both sexes, was 1.02 kg/year. Genetic evaluations for yearling weight gain was positively correlated with genetic evaluations for milk, fat, protein production, and cow survival but negatively correlated with female fertility. Yearling weight gain was also correlated with the direct effect on dystocia, and increased yearling weight gain resulted in greater frequency of dystocia. Of the 1749 Israeli Holstein bulls genotyped with reliabilities >50%, 1445 had genetic evaluations. As genotyping of these bulls was performed using several single nucleotide polymorhphism (SNP) chip platforms, we included only those markers that were genotyped in >90% of the tested cohort. A total of 40,498 SNPs were retained. More than 400 markers had significant effects after permutation and correction for multiple testing (pnominal < 1 × 10−8). Considering all SNPs simultaneously, 0.69 of variance among the sires’ transmitting ability was explained. There were 24 markers with coefficients of determination for yearling weight gain >0.04. One marker, BTA-75458-no-rs on chromosome 5, explained ≈6% of the variance among the estimated breeding values for yearling weight gain. ARS-BFGL-NGS-39379 had the fifth largest coefficient of determination in the current study and was also found to have a significant effect on weight at an age of 13–14 months in a previous study on Holsteins. Significant genomic effects on yearling weight gain were mainly associated with milk production quantitative trait loci, specifically with kappa casein metabolism.

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Genetic and Genome-Wide Association Analysis of Yearling Weight Gain in Israel Holstein Dairy Calves
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Moran Gershoni

Joel Ira Weller

 Ephraim Ezra

 

Genetic and Genome-Wide Association Analysis of Yearling Weight Gain in Israel Holstein Dairy Calves

Yearling weight gain in male and female Israeli Holstein calves, defined as 365 × ((weight − 35)/age at weight) + 35, was analyzed from 814,729 records on 368,255 animals from 740 herds recorded between 1994 and 2021. The variance components were calculated based on valid records from 2008 through 2017 for each sex separately and both sexes jointly by a single-trait individual animal model analysis, which accounted for repeat records on animals. The analysis model also included the square root, linear, and quadratic effects of age at weight. Heritability and repeatability were 0.35 and 0.71 in the analysis of both sexes and similar in the single sex analyses. The regression of yearling weight gain on birth date in the complete data set was −0.96 kg/year. The complete data set was also analyzed by the same model as the variance component analysis, including both sexes and accounting for differing variance components for each sex. The genetic trend for yearling weight gain, including both sexes, was 1.02 kg/year. Genetic evaluations for yearling weight gain was positively correlated with genetic evaluations for milk, fat, protein production, and cow survival but negatively correlated with female fertility. Yearling weight gain was also correlated with the direct effect on dystocia, and increased yearling weight gain resulted in greater frequency of dystocia. Of the 1749 Israeli Holstein bulls genotyped with reliabilities >50%, 1445 had genetic evaluations. As genotyping of these bulls was performed using several single nucleotide polymorhphism (SNP) chip platforms, we included only those markers that were genotyped in >90% of the tested cohort. A total of 40,498 SNPs were retained. More than 400 markers had significant effects after permutation and correction for multiple testing (pnominal < 1 × 10−8). Considering all SNPs simultaneously, 0.69 of variance among the sires’ transmitting ability was explained. There were 24 markers with coefficients of determination for yearling weight gain >0.04. One marker, BTA-75458-no-rs on chromosome 5, explained ≈6% of the variance among the estimated breeding values for yearling weight gain. ARS-BFGL-NGS-39379 had the fifth largest coefficient of determination in the current study and was also found to have a significant effect on weight at an age of 13–14 months in a previous study on Holsteins. Significant genomic effects on yearling weight gain were mainly associated with milk production quantitative trait loci, specifically with kappa casein metabolism.

Scientific Publication
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