Cow genotyping strategies for genomic selection in a small dairy cattle population

J Jenko, G R Wiggans, T A Cooper, S A E Eaglen, W G de L Luff, M Bichard, R Pong-Wong, J A Woolliams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This study compares how different cow genotyping strategies increase the accuracy of genomic estimated breeding values (EBV) in dairy cattle breeds with low numbers. In these breeds, few sires have progeny records, and genotyping cows can improve the accuracy of genomic EBV. The Guernsey breed is a small dairy cattle breed with approximately 14,000 recorded individuals worldwide. Predictions of phenotypes of milk yield, fat yield, protein yield, and calving interval were made for Guernsey cows from England and Guernsey Island using genomic EBV, with training sets including 197 de-regressed proofs of genotyped bulls, with cows selected from among 1,440 genotyped cows using different genotyping strategies. Accuracies of predictions were tested using 10-fold cross-validation among the cows. Genomic EBV were predicted using 4 different methods: (1) pedigree BLUP, (2) genomic BLUP using only bulls, (3) univariate genomic BLUP using bulls and cows, and (4) bivariate genomic BLUP. Genotyping cows with phenotypes and using their data for the prediction of single nucleotide polymorphism effects increased the correlation between genomic EBV and phenotypes compared with using only bulls by 0.163 ± 0.022 for milk yield, 0.111 ± 0.021 for fat yield, and 0.113 ± 0.018 for protein yield; a decrease of 0.014 ± 0.010 for calving interval from a low base was the only exception. Genetic correlation between phenotypes from bulls and cows were approximately 0.6 for all yield traits and significantly different from 1. Only a very small change occurred in correlation between genomic EBV and phenotypes when using the bivariate model. It was always better to genotype all the cows, but when only half of the cows were genotyped, a divergent selection strategy was better compared with the random or directional selection approach. Divergent selection of 30% of the cows remained superior for the yield traits in 8 of 10 folds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-452
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number1
Early online date9 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


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