Genomic Selection Improves Heat Tolerance in Dairy Cattle
AuthorGarner, JB; Douglas, ML; Williams, SRO; Wales, WJ; Marett, LC; Nguyen, TTT; Reich, CM; Hayes, BJ
Source TitleScientific Reports
PublisherNATURE PUBLISHING GROUP
AffiliationAgriculture and Food Systems
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsGarner, J. B., Douglas, M. L., Williams, S. R. O., Wales, W. J., Marett, L. C., Nguyen, T. T. T., Reich, C. M. & Hayes, B. J. (2016). Genomic Selection Improves Heat Tolerance in Dairy Cattle. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 6 (1), https://doi.org/10.1038/srep34114.
Access StatusOpen Access
Dairy products are a key source of valuable proteins and fats for many millions of people worldwide. Dairy cattle are highly susceptible to heat-stress induced decline in milk production, and as the frequency and duration of heat-stress events increases, the long term security of nutrition from dairy products is threatened. Identification of dairy cattle more tolerant of heat stress conditions would be an important progression towards breeding better adapted dairy herds to future climates. Breeding for heat tolerance could be accelerated with genomic selection, using genome wide DNA markers that predict tolerance to heat stress. Here we demonstrate the value of genomic predictions for heat tolerance in cohorts of Holstein cows predicted to be heat tolerant and heat susceptible using controlled-climate chambers simulating a moderate heatwave event. Not only was the heat challenge stimulated decline in milk production less in cows genomically predicted to be heat-tolerant, physiological indicators such as rectal and intra-vaginal temperatures had reduced increases over the 4 day heat challenge. This demonstrates that genomic selection for heat tolerance in dairy cattle is a step towards securing a valuable source of nutrition and improving animal welfare facing a future with predicted increases in heat stress events.
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