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Pedersen L.D.,University of Aarhus | Kargo M.,University of Aarhus | Kargo M.,Knowledge Center for Agriculture | Berg P.,University of Aarhus | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics | Year: 2012

The aim of this study was to test whether the use of X-semen in a dairy cattle population using genomic selection (GS) and multiple ovulation and embryo transfer (MOET) increases the selection intensity on cow dams and thereby the genetic gain in the entire population. Also, the dynamics of using different types of sexed semen (X, Y or conventional) in the nucleus were investigated. The stochastic simulation study partly supported the hypothesis as the genetic gain in the entire population was elevated when X-semen was used in the production population as GS exploited the higher selection intensity among heifers with great accuracy. However, when MOET was applied, the effect was considerably diminished as was the exchange of females between the nucleus and the production population, thus causing modest genetic profit from using X-sorted semen in the production population. In addition, the effect of using sexed semen on the genetic gain was very small compared with the effect of MOET and highly dependent on whether cow dams or bull dams were inseminated with sexed semen and on what type of semen that was used for the bull dams. The rate of inbreeding was seldom affected by the use of sexed semen. However, when all young bull candidates were born following MOET, the results showed that the use of Y-semen in the breeding nucleus tended to decrease the rate of inbreeding as it enabled GS to increase within-family selection. This implies that the benefit from using sexed semen in a modern dairy cattle breeding scheme applying both GS and MOET may be found in its beneficial effect on the rate of inbreeding. © 2011 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.


Thomasen J.R.,VikingGenetics | Thomasen J.R.,University of Aarhus | Sorensen A.C.,University of Aarhus | Lund M.S.,University of Aarhus | Guldbrandtsen B.,University of Aarhus
Journal of Dairy Science | Year: 2014

Small dairy breeds are challenged by low reliabilities of genomic prediction. Therefore, we evaluated the effect of including cows in the reference population for small dairy cattle populations with a limited number of sires in the reference population. Using detailed simulations, 2 types of scenarios for maintaining and updating the reference population over a period of 15. yr were investigated: a turbo scheme exclusively using genotyped young bulls and a hybrid scheme with mixed use of genotyped young bulls and progeny-tested bulls. Two types of modifications were investigated: (1) number of progeny-tested bulls per year was tested at 6 levels: 15, 40, 60, 100, 250, and 500; and (2) each year, 2,000 first-lactation cows were randomly selected from the cow population for genotyping or, alternatively, an additional 2,000 first-lactation cows were randomly selected and typed in the first 2. yr. The effects were evaluated in the 2 main breeding schemes. The breeding schemes were chosen to mimic options for the Danish Jersey cattle population. Evaluation criteria were annual monetary genetic gain, rate of inbreeding, reliability of genomic predictions, and variance of response. Inclusion of cows in the reference population increased monetary genetic gain and decreased the rate of inbreeding. The increase in genetic gain was larger for the turbo schemes with shorter generation intervals. The variance of response was generally higher in turbo schemes than in schemes using progeny-tested bulls. However, the risk was reduced by adding cows to the reference population. The annual genetic gain and the reliability of genomic predictions were slightly higher with more cows in the reference population. Inclusion of cows in the reference population is a rapid way to increase reliabilities of genomic predictions and hence increase genetic gain in a small population. An economic evaluation shows that genotyping of cows is a profitable investment. © 2014 American Dairy Science Association.


Thomasen J.R.,VikingGenetics | Thomasen J.R.,University of Aarhus | Egger-Danner C.,ZuchtData EDV Dienstleistungen GmbH | Willam A.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Dairy Science | Year: 2014

The objective of this study was to evaluate a genomic breeding scheme in a small dairy cattle population that was intermediate in terms of using both young bulls (YB) and progeny-tested bulls (PB). This scheme was compared with a conventional progeny testing program without use of genomic information and, as the extreme case, a juvenile scheme with genomic information, where all bulls were used before progeny information was available. The population structure, cost, and breeding plan parameters were chosen to reflect the Danish Jersey cattle population, being representative for a small dairy cattle population. The population consisted of 68,000 registered cows. Annually, 1,500 bull dams were screened to produce the 500 genotyped bull calves from which 60 YB were selected to be progeny tested. Two unfavorably correlated traits were included in the breeding goal, a production trait (h2=0.30) and a functional trait (h2=0.04). An increase in reliability of 5 percentage points for each trait was used in the default genomic scenario. A deterministic approach was used to model the different breeding programs, where the primary evaluation criterion was annual monetary genetic gain (AMGG). Discounted profit was used as an indicator of the economic outcome. We investigated the effect of varying the following parameters: (1) increase in reliability due to genomic information, (2) number of genotyped bull calves, (3) proportion of bull dam sires that are young bulls, and (4) proportion of cow sires that are young bulls. The genomic breeding scheme was both genetically and economically superior to the conventional breeding scheme, even in a small dairy cattle population where genomic information causes a relatively low increase in reliability of breeding values. Assuming low reliabilities of genomic predictions, the optimal breeding scheme according to AMGG was characterized by mixed use of YB and PB as bull sires. Exclusive use of YB for production cows increased AMGG up to 3 percentage points. The results from this study supported our hypothesis that strong interaction effects exist. The strongest interaction effects were obtained between increased reliabilities of genomic estimated breeding values and more intensive use of YB. The juvenile scheme was genetically inferior when the increase in reliability was low (5 percentage points), but became genetically superior at higher reliabilities of genomic estimated breeding values. The juvenile scheme was always superior according to discounted profit because of the shorter generation interval and minimizing costs for housing and feeding waiting bulls. © 2014 American Dairy Science Association.


PubMed | University of Aarhus, Lund University, VikingGenetics and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of dairy science | Year: 2014

Milk coagulation is an important processing trait, being the basis for production of both cheese and fermented products. There is interest in including technological properties of these products in the breeding goal for dairy cattle. The aim of the present study was therefore to estimate genetic parameters for milk coagulation properties, including both rennet- and acid-induced coagulation, in Swedish Red dairy cattle using genomic relationships. Morning milk samples and blood samples were collected from 395 Swedish Red cows that were selected to be as genetically unrelated as possible. Using a rheometer, milk samples were analyzed for rennet- and acid-induced coagulation properties, including gel strength (G), coagulation time, and yield stress (YS). In addition to the technological traits, milk composition was analyzed. A binary trait was created to reflect that milk samples that had not coagulated 40min after rennet addition were considered noncoagulating milk. The cows were genotyped by using the Illumina BovineHD BeadChip (Illumina Inc., San Diego, CA). Almost 600,000 markers remained after quality control and were used to construct a matrix of genomic relationships among the cows. Multivariate models including fixed effects of herd, lactation stage, and parity were fitted using the ASReml software to obtain estimates of heritabilities and genetic and phenotypic correlations. Heritability estimates (h(2)) for G and YS in rennet and acid gels were found to be high (h(2)=0.38-0.62) and the genetic correlations between rennet-induced and acid-induced coagulation properties were weak but favorable, with the exception of YSrennet with Gacid and YSacid, both of which were strong. The high heritability (h(2)=0.45) for milk coagulating ability expressed as a binary trait suggests that noncoagulation could be eliminated through breeding. Additionally, the results indicated that the current breeding objective could increase the frequency of noncoagulating milk and lead to deterioration of acid-induced coagulation through unfavorable genetic associations with protein content (0.38) and milk yield (-0.61 to -0.71), respectively. The outcome of this study suggests that by including more detailed compositional traits genetically associated with milk coagulation or by including milk coagulation properties directly within the breeding goal, it appears possible to breed cows that produce milk better suited for production of cheese and fermented products.


PubMed | University of Aarhus, Lund University, VikingGenetics and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of dairy science | Year: 2015

Optimizing cheese yield and quality is of central importance to cheese manufacturing. The yield is associated with the time it takes before the gel has an optimal consistency for further processing, and it is well known that gel formation differs between individual milk samples. By identifying genomic regions affecting traits related to rennet-induced gelation, the aim of this study was to identify potential candidate genes affecting these traits. Hence, rennet-induced gelation, including rennet coagulation time, gel strength, and yield stress, was measured in skim milk samples collected from 379 animals of the Swedish Red breed using low-amplitude oscillation measurements. All animals had genotypes for almost 621,000 segregating single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), identified using the Bovine HD SNPChip (Illumina Inc., San Diego, CA). The genome was scanned for associations, haplotypes based on SNP sets comprising highly associated SNP were inferred, and the effects of the 2 most common haplotypes within each region were analyzed using mixed models. Even though the number of animals was relatively small, a total of 21 regions were identified, with 4 regions showing association with more than one trait. A major quantitative trait locus for all traits was identified around the casein cluster explaining between 9.3 to 15.2% of the phenotypic variation of the different traits. In addition, 3 other possible candidate genes were identified; that is, UDP-N-acetyl--d-galactosamine:polypeptide N-acetylgalactosaminyl-transferase 1 (GALNT1), playing a role in O-glycosylation of -casein, and 2 cathepsins, CTSZ and CTSC, possibly involved in proteolysis of milk proteins. We have shown that other genes than the casein genes themselves may be involved in the regulation of gelation traits. However, additional analysis is needed to confirm these results. To our knowledge, this is the first study identifying quantitative trait loci affecting rennet-induced gelation of skim milk through a high-density genome-wide association study.


Glantz M.,Lund University | Devold T.G.,Norwegian University of Life Sciences | Vegarud G.E.,Norwegian University of Life Sciences | Lindmark Mansson H.,Swedish Dairy Association | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Dairy Science | Year: 2010

The economic output of the dairy industry is to a great extent dependent on the processing of milk into other milk-based products such as cheese. The yield and quality of cheese are dependent on both the composition and technological properties of milk. The objective of this study was to evaluate the importance and effects of casein (CN) micelle size and milk composition on milk gelation characteristics in order to evaluate the possibilities for enhancing gelation properties through breeding. Milk was collected on 4 sampling occasions at the farm level in winter and summer from dairy cows with high genetic merit, classified as elite dairy cows, of the Swedish Red and Swedish Holstein breeds. Comparisons were made with milk from a Swedish Red herd, a Swedish Holstein herd, and a Swedish dairy processor. Properties of CN micelles, such as their native and rennet-induced CN micelle size and their ζ-potential, were analyzed by photon correlation spectroscopy, and rennet-induced gelation characteristics, including gel strength, gelation time, and frequency sweeps, were determined. Milk parameters of the protein, lipid, and carbohydrate profiles as well as minerals were used to obtain correlations with native CN micelle size and gelation characteristics. Milk pH and protein, CN, and lactose contents were found to affect milk gelation. Smaller native CN micelles were shown to form stronger gels when poorly coagulating milk was excluded from the correlation analysis. In addition, milk pH correlated positively, whereas Mg and K correlated negatively with native CN micellar size. The milk from the elite dairy cows was shown to have good gelation characteristics. Furthermore, genetic progress in relation to CN micelle size was found for these cows as a correlated response to selection for the Swedish breeding objective if optimizing for milk gelation characteristics. The results indicate that selection for smaller native CN micelles and lower milk pH through breeding would enhance gelation properties and may thus improve the initial step in the processing of cheese. © 2010 American Dairy Science Association.


Glantz M.,Lund University | Lindmark Masson H.,Lund University | Paulsson M.,Lund University | Stalhammar H.,VikingGenetics
Journal of Dairy Research | Year: 2012

Genomic selection is a new technology in which selection decisions are based on direct genomic values (DGVs) or genomic enhanced breeding values (GEBVs). The objective of this study was to evaluate the relations between DGVs and several milk traits important for both the nutritional value and processability of milk. This is a new approach and can be used to increase the knowledge on how genomic selection can be used in practice. Morning milk samples from Swedish Holstein cows were analyzed for milk composition and technological properties. DGVs were received for each cow for milk, protein and fat yield, milk index, udder health, Nordic total merit and a quota was calculated between fat and milk yield as well as protein and milk yield. The results show that linear correlations exist (P<0·10) between the studied DGVs and contents and yields of parameters in the protein (P=0·002-0·097), fat (P=0·024-0·055) and mineral profiles (P=0·001- 0·099) as well as for cheese characteristics (P=0·004- 0·065), thus making it possible to obtain detailed information on milk traits that are not registered in the milk recording scheme. Hence, genomic selection will be an efficient tool for breeding and dairy industry to select cows early in life for targeted milk production. © 2011 Proprietors of Journal of Dairy Research.


Glantz M.,Lund University | Lindmark Mansson H.,Lund University | Stalhammar H.,VikingGenetics | Paulsson M.,Lund University
Journal of Dairy Research | Year: 2012

The relations between cow genetics and milk composition have gained a lot of attention during the past years, however, generally only a few compositional traits have been examined. The aim of this study was to determine if polymorphisms in the leptin (LEP), leptin receptor (LEPR) and acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1 (DGAT1) genes as well as genetic polymorphism of β-casein (β-CN), κ-CN and β-lactoglobulin (β-LG) impact several bovine milk composition traits. Individual milk samples from the Swedish Red and Swedish Holstein breeds were analyzed for components in the protein, lipid, carbohydrate and mineral profiles. Cow alleles were determined on the following SNP: A1457G, A252T, A59V and C963T on the LEP gene, T945M on the LEPR gene and Nt984+8(A-G) on the DGAT1 gene. Additionally, genetic variants of β-CN, κ-CN and β-LG were determined. For both the breeds, the same tendency of minor allele frequency was found for all SNPs and protein genes, except on LEPA1457G and LEPC963T. This study indicated significant (P<0·05) associations between the studied SNPs and several compositional parameters. Protein content was influenced by LEPA1457G (G>A) and LEPC963T (T>C), whereas total Ca, ionic Ca concentration and milk pH were affected by LEP A1457G, LEPA59V, LEPC963T and LEPR T945M. However, yields of milk, protein, CN, lactose, total Ca and P were mainly affected by β-CN (A2>A1) and κ-CN (A>B>E). β-LG was mainly associated with whey protein yield and ionic Ca concentration (A>B). Thus, this study shows possibilities of using these polymorphisms as markers within genetic selection programs to improve and adjust several compositional parameters. © 2011 Proprietors of Journal of Dairy Research.


Fagerlind M.,University of Skövde | Stalhammar H.,VikingGenetics | Olsson B.,University of Skövde | Klinga-Levan K.,University of Skövde
Reproduction in Domestic Animals | Year: 2015

Contents: Bull spermatozoa are rich in active miRNAs, and it has been shown that specific spermborne miRNAs can be linked to fertility. Thus, expression profiling of spermatozoa could be helpful for understanding male fertility and the ability of spermatozoa to initiate and sustain zygotic, embryonic and foetal development. Herein we hypothesized that bulls with moderate to high fertility can be identified by differences in amounts of certain miRNAs between their ejaculates. RNA samples from spermatozoa of eight brother pairs (one bull with high and one with moderate NRR in each pair) of the Holstein breed were prepared. miRNA was isolated, and the expression of 178 miRNAs was determined by RT-qPCR. Important findings were that highly expressed miRNAs, not linked to NRR status, were identified in the bull sperm samples, which indicate that these miRNAs have an important role in early embryogenesis. A large fraction of the targets genes were phosphoproteins and genes involved in the regulation of transcription. Seven miRNAs (mir-502-5p, mir-1249, mir-320a, mir-34c-3p, mir-19b-3p, mir-27a-5p and mir-148b-3p) were differentially expressed between bulls with moderate and high NRR with a strong tendency towards a higher expression of miRNAs in bulls with moderate fertility. Thus, bulls with a moderate NRR negatively regulate the expression of protein-coding genes, which leads to problems during the pregnancy. © 2015 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.


Glantz M.,Lund University | Lindmark Mansson H.,Lund University | Stalhammar H.,VikingGenetics | Paulsson M.,Lund University
Journal of Dairy Science | Year: 2011

Cheese production has increased worldwide during the last decade and is expected to increase within the coming decade as well. Despite this, the relations between cow genetics and cheese characteristics are not fully known. The aim of this study was to determine if polymorphisms in the leptin (LEP), leptin receptor (LEPR), and acyl-coenzyme A:diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1 (DGAT1) genes as well as genetic variants of β-casein (β-CN), κ-CN, and β-lactoglobulin (β-LG) affect technological properties important for cheese production and, hence, could act as genetic makers for cheese quality. Individual milk samples from the Swedish Red and the Swedish Holstein breeds were analyzed for sizes of CN micelles and fat globules as well as rennet-induced gel strength, gelation time, and yield stress. Model cheeses were produced to study yield, hardness, and pH of the cheeses. The A1457G, A252T, A59V, and C963T single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) were analyzed on the LEP gene, the T945M SNP on the LEPR gene, and the Nt984+8(A-G) SNP on the DGAT1 gene. In addition, genetic variants of β-CN, κ-CN, and β-LG were determined. The results indicate that technological properties were influenced by the LEPRT945M polymorphism, which had an association with gel strength, yield stress, and cheese hardness (T > C). However, also LEPA252T was shown to affect gel strength (T > A), whereas the LEPA59V had an effect on fat globule size (T > C). For the milk protein genes, favorable effects were found for the A and B variants of β-LG and κ-CN, respectively, on gel strength, gelation time, and yield stress. In addition, the B variant of κ-CN was shown to be associated with smaller CN micelles than the A variant. Thus, the results demonstrate potential genetic markers for cheese characteristics. However, milk composition traits also affected the obtained results, thus making it necessary to thoroughly assess the different aspects regarding the influence of gene effects on cheese characteristics before directly selecting for certain alleles or genetic variants to improve the processing and quality of cheese. © 2011 American Dairy Science Association.

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