Mapping quantitative trait loci (QTL) in sheep. IV. Analysis of lactation persistency and extended lactation traits in sheep
AuthorJonas, E; Thomson, PC; Hall, EJS; McGill, D; Lam, MK; Raadsma, HW
Source TitleGenetics Selection Evolution
University of Melbourne Author/sMcGill, David
AffiliationVeterinary Clinical Sciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsJonas, E., Thomson, P. C., Hall, E. J. S., McGill, D., Lam, M. K. & Raadsma, H. W. (2011). Mapping quantitative trait loci (QTL) in sheep. IV. Analysis of lactation persistency and extended lactation traits in sheep. GENETICS SELECTION EVOLUTION, 43 (1), https://doi.org/10.1186/1297-9686-43-22.
Access StatusOpen Access
BACKGROUND: In sheep dairy production, total lactation performance, and length of lactation of lactation are of economic significance. A more persistent lactation has been associated with improved udder health. An extended lactation is defined by a longer period of milkability. This study is the first investigation to examine the presence of quantitative trait loci (QTL) for extended lactation and lactation persistency in sheep. METHODS: An (Awassi × Merino) × Merino single-sire backcross family with 172 ewes was used to map QTL for lactation persistency and extended lactation traits on a framework map of 189 loci across all autosomes. The Wood model was fitted to data from multiple lactations to estimate parameters of ovine lactation curves, and these estimates were used to derive measures of lactation persistency and extended lactation traits of milk, protein, fat, lactose, useful yield, and somatic cell score. These derived traits were subjected to QTL analyses using maximum likelihood estimation and regression analysis. RESULTS: Overall, one highly significant (LOD > 3.0), four significant (2.0 < LOD < 3.0) and five suggestive (1.7 < LOD < 2.0) QTL were detected across all traits in common by both mapping methods. One additional suggestive QTL was identified using maximum likelihood estimation, and four suggestive (0.01 < P < 0.05) and two significant (P < 0.01) QTL using the regression approach only. All detected QTL had effect sizes in the range of 0.48 to 0.64 SD, corresponding to QTL heritabilities of 3.1 to 8.9%. The comparison of the detected QTL with results in cattle showed conserved linkage regions. Most of the QTL identified for lactation persistency and extended lactation did not coincide. This suggests that persistency and extended lactation for the same as well as different milk yield and component traits are not controlled by the same genes. CONCLUSION: This study identified ten novel QTL for lactation persistency and extended lactation in sheep, but results suggest that lactation persistency and extended lactation do not have a major gene in common. These results provide a basis for further validation in extended families and other breeds as well as targeting regions for genome-wide association mapping using high-density SNP arrays.
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