Discriminating among cattle breeds using genetic markers

S.C. Blott, J.L. Williams, C.S. Haley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Genetic markers provide a potentially powerful means of identifying the breed of individual animals. In this study diallelic and microsatellite loci were compared for their efficiency in discriminating among cattle breeds. Data were simulated for seven European cattle breeds using allele frequencies estimated at 20 microsatellite and 30 diallelic markers. Animals were assigned to the breed for which their genotype had the highest probability, and the power of the method assessed by estimating the error rate or proportion of animals misclassified. The number of markers required for discriminating among pure, or both pure and crossbreed, animals was investigated using either randomly sampled markers or markers selected on individual error rate. The relationship between individual marker variability and discriminatory power was also investigated. Microsatellite markers were found to be more powerful than diallelic markers for distinguishing among the breeds. The most discriminatory markers were those with the highest average heterozygosity and observed number of alleles. The number of markers needed to achieve a particular error rate could be reduced by selecting markers with the lowest individual error rates. Discrimination among both crossbreeds and pure breeds required approximately three times as many markers as discrimination among pure breeds alone.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-619
Number of pages7
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 1999


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