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Berry D.P.,Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Center | Bastiaansen J.W.M.,Wageningen University | Veerkamp R.F.,Animal Breeding and Genomics Center | Wijga S.,Wageningen University | And 3 more authors.
Animal | Year: 2012

Genome-wide association studies for difficult-to-measure traits are generally limited by the sample population size with accurate phenotypic data. The objective of this study was to utilise data on primiparous Holstein-Friesian cows from experimental farms in Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Sweden to identify genomic regions associated with traditional measures of fertility, as well as a fertility phenotype derived from milk progesterone profiles. Traditional fertility measures investigated were days to first heat, days to first service, pregnancy rate to first service, number of services and calving interval (CI); post-partum interval to the commencement of luteal activity (CLA) was derived using routine milk progesterone assays. Phenotypic and genotypic data on 37 590 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were available for up to 1570 primiparous cows. Genetic parameters were estimated using linear animal models, and univariate and bivariate genome-wide association analyses were undertaken using Bayesian stochastic search variable selection performed using Gibbs sampling. Heritability estimates of the traditional fertility traits varied from 0.03 to 0.16; the heritability for CLA was 0.13. The posterior quantitative trait locus (QTL) probabilities, across the genome, for the traditional fertility measures were all <0.021. Posterior QTL probabilities of 0.060 and 0.045 were observed for CLA on SNPs each on chromosome 2 and chromosome 21, respectively, in the univariate analyses; these probabilities increased when CLA was included in the bivariate analyses with the traditional fertility traits. For example, in the bivariate analysis with CI, the posterior QTL probability of the two aforementioned SNPs were 0.662 and 0.123. Candidate genes in the vicinity of these SNPs are discussed. The results from this study suggest that the power of genome-wide association studies in cattle may be increased by sharing of data and also possibly by using physiological measures of the trait under investigation. © Copyright The Animal Consortium 2012.

Harley S.,University College Dublin | More S.J.,University College Dublin | O'Connell N.E.,Queens University of Belfast | Hanlon A.,University College Dublin | And 2 more authors.
Veterinary Record | Year: 2012

Despite extensive utilisation in epidemiological investigations of animal health, to date there has been little consideration of the value of abattoir meat inspection as a pig welfare surveillance tool. This study measured the prevalence of tail-docking, tail biting, carcase condemnations and associated financial losses of the latter (Northern Ireland only) in 36,963 pigs slaughtered in six abattoirs from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in July and August 2010. Over 99 per cent of inspected pigs had been tail-docked, while 58.1 per cent and 1.03 per cent had detectable and severe tail lesions, respectively. Producer losses resulting from carcase condemnation were estimated to be €0.37 per pig slaughtered. Enhanced capture and utilisation of meat inspection data for use in animal welfare surveillance schemes has the potential to drive improvements in production efficiency and animal welfare. However, significant differences were detected in the prevalence of carcase condemnation conditions between abattoirs and judiciaries (Republic and Northern Ireland). This reflects variation in the criteria and methods of data capture used in meat inspection in different abattoirs. Thus, the meat inspection process needs to be standardised and reformed before it can be reliably utilised in large-scale pig welfare surveillance schemes.

Moloney A.P.,Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Center
Lipid Technology | Year: 2012

Medical authorities recommend that energy intake from saturated fatty acids (SFA) should not exceed 10% of total energy intake. Milk and meat, because of their relatively high SFA concentration and level of consumption, make a large contribution to human SFA consumption. Strategies to decrease the SFA content in meat and milk include inclusion of forage in the ration of ruminants and supplementation of dietary intake of ruminants and monogastrics with unsaturated fatty acid-rich oilseeds, fish oil or marine algae. The influences of these manipulations will be illustrated and the likely future trends in the SFA content of meat and milk will be suggested. © 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Beecher C.,Teagasc | Beecher C.,University College Cork | Daly M.,Teagasc | Childs S.,Teagasc | And 4 more authors.
BMC Genetics | Year: 2010

Background: Mastitis, an inflammation of the mammary gland, is a major source of economic loss on dairy farms. The aim of this study was to quantify the associations between two previously identified polymorphisms in the bovine toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) and chemokine receptor 1 (CXCR1) genes and mammary health indictor traits in (a) 246 lactating dairy cow contemporaries representing five breeds from one research farm and (b) 848 Holstein-Friesian bulls that represent a large proportion of the Irish dairy germplasm. To expand the study, a further 14 polymorphisms in immune genes were included for association studies in the bull population.Results: TLR4-2021 associated (P < 0.05) with both milk protein and fat percentage in late lactation (P < 0.01) within the cow cohort. No association was observed between this polymorphism and either yield or composition of milk within the bull population. CXCR1-777 significantly associated (P < 0.05) with fat yield in the bull population and tended to associate (P < 0.1) with somatic cell score (SCS) in the cows genotyped. CD14-1908 A allele was found to associate with increased (P < 0.05) milk fat and protein yield and also tended to associate with increased (P < 0.1) milk yield. A SERPINA1 haplotype with superior genetic merit for milk protein yield and milk fat percentage (P < 0.05) was also identified.Conclusion: Of the sixteen polymorphisms in seven immune genes genotyped, just CXCR1-777 tended to associate with SCS, albeit only in the on-farm study. The lack of an association between the polymorphisms with SCS in the Holstein-Friesian data set would question the potential importance of these variants in selection for improved mastitis resistance in the Holstein-Friesian cow. © 2010 Beecher et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Cartwright S.L.,University of Guelph | Begley N.,Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Center | Schaeffer L.R.,University of Guelph | Burnside E.B.,Gencor | Mallard B.A.,University of Guelph
Journal of Dairy Science | Year: 2011

As an extension of a former study, the objectives of this study were to evaluate purebred Holstein (HO; n = 140) and crossbred Norwegian Red × Holstein (NRFX; n = 142) calves for antibody (AMIR) and cell-mediated immune responses (CMIR) as well as survival. Blood was collected on d 0, 14, and 21, and calves were immunized on d 0 and 14 with type 1 (Candida albicans) and type 2 (hen egg white lysozyme) antigens, which have been shown to induce CMIR and AMIR, respectively. Day 21 background skin-fold measurements of either side of the tail-fold were taken and intradermal injections of test (type 1 antigen) and control (phosphate saline buffer) were administered. Day 23 final skin-fold measurements were taken to assess delayed type hypersensitivity as an indicator of CMIR. Survival data were obtained from CanWest Dairy Herd Improvement. Statistical Analysis System general linear models were used to analyze all immune response and survival data and to determine statistical significance between breeds. Results showed that NRFX had greater primary IgM, IgG, IgG1, and secondary IgG1 antibody response, as well as greater primary IgG1:IgG2 ratio to the type 2 antigen compared with HO. The NRFX also had greater primary IgG1 and IgG2, and secondary IgG2 antibody response as well as greater primary IgG1:IgG2 ratio to the type 1 antigen. The NRFX calves had a tendency toward greater survival from age at immune response testing to calving. No difference was observed between breeds for other secondary antibody response traits or delayed type hypersensitivity. Results indicate NRFX have greater AMIR and therefore may have enhanced defense against extracellular pathogens. This may contribute to increased survival compared with HO. Both breeds, however, likely have similar defense against intracellular pathogens, because no differences in CMIR were observed. In general, these results may suggest that crossbreeding could improve resistance to certain diseases in dairy calves, resulting in decreased input costs to producers for crossbred calves compared with purebred calves. However, more research with larger sample sizes and different breeds should be conducted to confirm these results and obtain a complete picture of the benefits of crossbreeding on immune response traits in calves. © 2011 American Dairy Science Association.

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