Background: This is the first study based on a genome-wide association approach that investigates the links between ovine footrot scores and molecular polymorphisms in Texel sheep using the ovine 50 K SNP array (42 883 SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) after quality control). Our aim was to identify molecular predictors of footrot resistance. Methods: This study used data from animals selected from a footrot-phenotyped Texel sheep population of 2229 sheep with an average of 1.60 scoring records per animal. From these, a subset of 336 animals with extreme trait values for footrot was selected for genotyping based on their phenotypic records. De-regressed estimated breeding values (EBV) for footrot were used as pseudo-phenotypes in the genome-wide association analysis. Results: Seven SNPs were significant on a chromosome-wise level but the association analysis did not reveal any genome-wise significant SNPs associated with footrot. Based on the current state of knowledge of the ovine genome, it is difficult to clearly link the function of the genes that contain these significant SNPs with a potential role in resistance/susceptibility to footrot. Linkage disequilibrium (LD) was analysed as one of the factors that influence the power of detecting QTL (quantitative trait loci). A mean LD of 0.20 (r2 at a distance of 50 kb between two SNPs) in the population analysed was estimated. LD declined from 0.15 to 0.07 and to 0.04 at distances between two SNPs of 100, 1000 and 2000 kb, respectively. Conclusions: Based on a relatively small number of genotyped animals, this study is a first step to search for genomic regions that are involved in resistance to footrot using the ovine 50 K SNP array. Seven SNPs were found to be significant on a chromosome-wise level. No major genome-wise significant QTL were identified.
- Molecular predictors
- Texel sheep