Affordable Access

Early-programming of dairy cattle, a potential explanation to the adaptation to climate change

  • Hammami, Hedi
  • Colinet, Frédéric
  • Bastin, Catherine
  • Vanderick, Sylvie
  • Mineur, Axelle
  • Naderi Darbaghshahi, Saeid
  • REIS MOTA, Rodrigo
  • Gengler, Nicolas
Publication Date
Aug 01, 2018
External links


Breeding for robustness and considering genotype by environment interaction (G×E) is linked to adaptation. Recently, it has been established that gene expression can be affected by the environment during the embryo development. The concept of early programming has been demonstrated in many settings. This study aimed to assess the impact of thermal stress when dairy cows been conceived on their lifetime performances. Studied traits were milk yield and some novel milk-based biomarkers, fertility (days open), health (somatic cell score and ketosis), and heat tolerance. Data used compromised 905,391 test day of 58,297 cows in parity 1 to 3 for production traits, health and ketosis status, 104,635 records of 48,125 cows for days open, and 399,449 test days recorded (linked with temperature humidity index values, THI) of 28,203 cows for heat tolerance trait. Date of conception was estimated using the next calving date of the cow and subtracting 280 d from the calving interval. Cows being conceived in summer (June- August) were considered as influenced by heat stress (environment 1) and those conceived in winter (December- February) as neutral-thermal conditions (environment 2). G×E was analysed by a multi-trait model for days open in which each of the 3 lactations measured in heat stress and thermo-neutral conditions were considered as separate traits. For the rest of the traits, it was analysed using reaction norm models, in which the trait is considered a function of an environmental descriptor (i.e. THI, days in milk) in the two discrete environments. First results showed that genetic correlations across both early-life defined environments and lactations were substantially lower than unity, implying that effects of genes for cows conceived under neutral-thermal conditions may be different of the effects for the same genes for cows conceived under heat stressed conditions.

Report this publication


Seen <100 times