A rapid and robust sequence-based genotyping method for BoLA-DRB3 alleles in large numbers of heterozygous cattle

R. Baxter, N. Hastings, A. Law, E. J. Glass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The BoLA-DRB3 gene is a highly polymorphic major histocompatibility complex class II gene of cattle with over one hundred alleles reported. Most of the polymorphisms are located in exon 2, which encodes the peptide-binding cleft, and these sequence differences play a role in variability of immune responsiveness and disease resistance. However, the high degree of polymorphism in exon 2 leads to difficulty in accurately genotyping cattle, especially heterozygous animals. In this study, we have improved and simplified an earlier sequence-based typing method to easily and reliably genotype cattle for BoLA-DRB3. In contrast to the earlier method, which used a nested primer set to amplify exon 2 followed by sequencing with internal primers, the new method uses only internal primers for both amplification and sequencing, which results in high-quality sequence across the entire exon. The HAPLOFINDER software, which assigns alleles from the heterozygous sequence, now has a pre-processing step that uses a consensus of all known alleles and checks for errors in base calling, thus improving the ability to process large numbers of samples. In addition, advances in sequencing technology have reduced the requirement for manual editing and improved the clarity of heterozygous base calls, resulting in longer and clearer sequence reads. Taken together, this has resulted in a rapid and robust method for genotyping large numbers of heterozygous samples for BoLA-DRB3 polymorphisms. Over 400 Holstein-Charolais cattle have now been genotyped for BoLA-DRB3 using this approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-563
Number of pages3
JournalAnimal Genetics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008


  • BoLA-DRB3
  • bovine
  • genotyping
  • EXON-2


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