Genome wide association of tuberculosis resistance in dairy cattle

Mairead Lesley Bermingham, Stephen Bishop, John Woolliams, A. R. Allen, Stewart H McBride, D. Wight, Jon J Ryder, R. A. Skuce, Stanley W J McDowell, Elizabeth Glass

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Mycobacterium bovis is the aetiological agent of bovine tuberculosis (TB). Diagnosis is based on the tuberculin test and abattoir surveillance. The failure of the UK and several countries to eradicate TB indicates a need to consider alternative strategies, such as genetic selection of cattle for increased resistance to TB. The aim of this study was to conduct a case/control genome wide association study using the newly available Illumina bovine high density SNP chip to identify loci associated with variation in TB resistance in the Northern Ireland Holstein-Friesian dairy cattle population. Blood samples from 3,715 cattle were collected from 464 herds between 2008 and 2009. Cases were sampled at slaughter, and were defined as animals with both a positive reaction to the tuberculin skin test and a confirmed TB lesion. Age matched controls were sampled from a subset of case herds, and were defined as animals that were negative to the tuberculin skin test. In total, 1,424 cattle were genotyped for 777,962 SNPs. After QC edits, 1,151 cattle (592 cases and 559 controls) and genotype data from 617,610 SNPs remained. Genome wide association using mixed models and regression was used to test for associations between SNPs and TB resistance. The estimated heritability for resistance to TB was 0.21 (SE 0.06). Chromosome wide significant associations detected at eight loci, and together these SNPs explained 8.2% of variance in resistance to TB in the cattle population sample investigated in this study. We aim to independently replicate these findings and understand the genetic of the significant regions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2013
Event34th Annual Congress of the European Society of Mycobacteriology - Florence, Italy
Duration: 30 Jun 20133 Jul 2013


Conference34th Annual Congress of the European Society of Mycobacteriology


  • Genome-wide association study
  • bovine tuberculosis
  • Northern Ireland
  • Holstein Friesians
  • Dairy cows

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