Genome-wide associations and detection of potential candidate genes for direct genetic and maternal genetic effects influencing dairy cattle body weight at different ages
BACKGROUND: Body weight (BW) at different ages are of increasing importance in dairy cattle breeding schemes, because of their strong correlation with energy efficiency traits, and their impact on cow health, longevity and farm economy. In total, 15,921 dairy cattle from 56 large-scale test-herds with BW records were genotyped for 45,613 single ... nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). This dataset was used for genome-wide association studies (GWAS), in order to localize potential candidate genes for direct and maternal genetic effects on BW recorded at birth (BW0), at 2 to 3 months of age (BW23), and at 13 to 14 months of age (BW1314).RESULTS: The first 20 principal components (PC) of the genomic relationship matrix (G) grouped the genotyped cattle into three clusters. In the statistical models used for GWAS, correction for population structure was done by including polygenic effects with various genetic similarity matrices, such as the pedigree-based relationship matrix (A), the G-matrix, the reduced G-matrix LOCO (i.e. exclusion of the chromosome on which the candidate SNP is located), and LOCO plus chromosome-wide PC. Inflation factors for direct genetic effects using A and LOCO were larger than 1.17. For G and LOCO plus chromosome-wide PC, inflation factors were very close to 1.0. According to Bonferroni correction, ten, two and seven significant SNPs were detected for the direct genetic effect on BW0, BW23, and BW1314, respectively. Seventy-six candidate genes contributed to direct genetic effects on BW with four involved in growth and developmental processes: FGF6, FGF23, TNNT3, and OMD. For maternal genetic effects on BW0, only three significant SNPs (according to Bonferroni correction), and four potential candidate genes, were identified. The most significant SNP on chromosome 19 explained only 0.14% of the maternal de-regressed proof variance for BW0.CONCLUSIONS: For correction of population structure in GWAS, we suggest a statistical model that considers LOCO plus chromosome-wide PC. Regarding direct genetic effects, several SNPs had a significant effect on BW at different ages, and only two SNPs on chromosome 5 had a significant effect on all three BW traits. Thus, different potential candidate genes regulate BW at different ages. Maternal genetic effects followed an infinitesimal model.