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Keywords:

  • confirmation study;
  • dairy cattle;
  • gene mapping;
  • genome-wide association study

Summary

A genome-wide association study of 2098 progeny-tested Nordic Holstein bulls genotyped for 36 387 SNPs on 29 autosomes was conducted to confirm and fine-map quantitative trait loci (QTL) for mastitis traits identified earlier using linkage analysis with sparse microsatellite markers in the same population. We used linear mixed model analysis where a polygenic genetic effect was fitted as a random effect and single SNPs were successively included as fixed effects in the model. We detected 143 SNP-by-trait significant associations (P < 0.0001) on 20 chromosomes affecting mastitis-related traits. Among them, 21 SNP-by-trait combinations exceeded the genome-wide significant threshold. For 12 chromosomes, both the present association study and the previous linkage study detected QTL, and of these, six were in the same chromosomal locations. Strong associations of SNPs with mastitis traits were observed on bovine autosomes 6, 13, 14 and 20. Possible candidate genes for these QTL were identified. Identification of SNPs in linkage disequilibrium with QTL will enable marker-based selection for mastitis resistance. The candidate genes identified should be further studied to detect candidate polymorphisms underlying these QTL.