• Beef breed;
  • cattle;
  • linkage disequilibrium;
  • single nucleotide polymorphism


We present here the first genome-wide characterization of linkage disequilibrium (LD) in the French Blonde d'Aquitaine (BLA) breed, a well-muscled breed renowned for producing high-yielding beef carcasses. To assess the pattern and extent of LD, we used a sample of 30 unrelated bulls and 36 923 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) covering all cattle autosomes. The squared correlation of the alleles at two loci (r2) was used as a measure of LD. The analysis of adjacent marker pairs revealed that the level of LD decreases rapidly with physical distance between SNPs. Overall mean r2 was 0.205 (±0.262). Strong LD (r2 > 0.8) and useful LD (measured as r> 0.2) were observed within genomic regions of up to 720 and 724 kb, respectively. We analysed the genetic structure of the BLA population and found stratification. The observed genetic sub-structuring is consistent with the known recent demographic history that occurred during BLA breed formation. Our results indicate that LD mapping of phenotypic traits in the BLA population is feasible; however, because of this sub-structuring, special care is needed to reduce the likelihood of false-positive associations between marker loci and traits of interest.