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Detection of Quantitative Trait Loci Affecting Lameness and Leg Conformation Traits in Danish Holstein Cattle

Journal of Dairy Science
American Dairy Science Association
DOI: 10.3168/jds.s0022-0302(07)72649-8
  • Genetics And Breeding


Abstract Lameness is an important factor for culling animals. Strong legs and feet improve herd life of dairy cows. Therefore, many countries include leg and feet conformation traits in their breeding programs, often as early predictors of longevity. However, few countries directly measure lameness related traits to include these in a breeding program. Lameness indices in 3 different lactations and 5 leg conformation traits (rear legs side view, rear legs rear view, hock quality, bone quality, and foot angle) were measured on granddaughters of 19 Danish Holstein grandsires with 33 to 105 sons. A genome scan was performed to detect quantitative trait loci (QTL) based on the 29 autosomes using microsatellite markers. Data were analyzed across and within families for QTL affecting lameness and leg conformation traits. A regression method and a variance component method were used for QTL detection. Two QTL each for lameness in the first [Bos taurus autosome (BTA); BTA5, BTA26] and second (BTA19, BTA22) lactations were detected. For the 5 different leg conformation traits, 7 chromosome-wise significant QTL were detected across families for rear legs side view, 5 for rear legs rear view, 4 for hock quality, 4 for bone quality, and 1 for foot angle. For those chromosomes where a QTL associated with 2 different traits was detected (BTA1, BTA11, BTA15, BTA26, and BTA27), a multitrait-1-QTL model and a multitrait-2-QTL model were performed to characterize these QTL as single QTL with pleiotropic effects or distinct QTL.

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