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Genomic analysis of claw lesions in Holstein cows: opportunities for genomic selection, quantitative trait locus detection, and gene identification

Abstract : Claw lesions are the third most important health issue in dairy cattle, after mastitis and reproductive disorders, and genomic selection is a key component for long-term improvement of claw health. The objectives of this study were to assess the feasibility of a genomic evaluation for claw health in French Holstein cows, explore possibilities to increase evaluation accuracy, and gain a better understanding of the genetic determinism of claw health traits. The data set consisted of 48,685 trimmed Holstein cows, including 9,646 that were genotyped; 478 genotyped sires were also used. Seven claw lesion traits were evaluated using BLUP, genomic BLUP, BayesC, and single-step genomic BLUP, and the accuracies obtained using these approaches were measured through a validation study. The Bayese approach was used to detect quantitative trait locus (QTL) regions associated with the 7 individual traits (digital dermatitis, heel horn erosion, interdigital hyperplasia, sole hemorrhage circumscribed, sole hemorrhage diffused, sole ulcer, and white line fissure) based on their Bayes factor. Annotated genes on these regions were reported. Genomic evaluation approaches generally did not allow for greater accuracies than BLUP, except for single-step genomic BLUP. Accuracies were moderate, but best and worst validation animals were correctly discriminated and showed significant differences in lesion frequencies. A total of 192 QTL regions were identified, including 13 with major evidence or involved for 2 of the traits. A high number of genes were present on these regions, and several had functions associated with the ininnine system. In particular, the EPYC gene is located close to a major evidence QTL for resistance to digital dermatitis that is also a QTL for interdigital hyperplasia (on chromosome 5, around 20.9 MB) and has been associated with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome in cattle. Genomic selection can be used to improve resistance to individual claw lesions, and several possibilities exist to improve accuracies of genomic evaluations.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - 11:17:00 AM
Last modification on : Friday, January 14, 2022 - 3:24:04 PM

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Iola Croué, Alexis Michenet, Helene Leclerc, Vincent Ducrocq. Genomic analysis of claw lesions in Holstein cows: opportunities for genomic selection, quantitative trait locus detection, and gene identification. Journal of Dairy Science, American Dairy Science Association, 2019, 102 (7), pp.6306-6318. ⟨10.3168/jds.2018-15979⟩. ⟨hal-02624321⟩

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