Lameness represents a significant challenge for the dairy cattle industry, resulting in economic losses and reduced animal health and welfare. The existence of underlying genomic variation for lameness associated traits has the potential to improve selection strategies by using genomic markers. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify genomic regions and potential candidate genes associated with lameness traits. Lameness related lesions and digital cushion thickness were studied using records collected by our research team, farm records and a combination of both. Genome-wide analyses were performed to identify significant genomic effects and a combination of single SNP association analysis and regional heritability mapping was used to identify associated genomic regions. Significant genomic effects were identified for several lameness related traits: Two genomic regions were identified on chromosome 3 associated with digital dermatitis and interdigital hyperplasia, one genomic region on chromosome 23 associated with interdigital hyperplasia, and one genomic region on chromosome 2 associated with sole haemorrhage. Candidate genes in those regions are mainly related to immune response and fibroblast proliferation. Quantitative trait loci (QTL) identified in this study could enlighten the understanding of lameness pathogenesis, providing an opportunity to improve health and welfare in dairy cattle with the addition of these regions into selection programs.
Bibliographical noteCopyright © 2019 Sánchez-Molano, Bay, Smith, Oikonomou and Banos.
- Dairy cattle lameness
- Genome-wide association
- Regional heritability mapping
- Quantitative Trait Loci
- Digital cushion thickness