Heritable and non-heritable genetic effects on retained placenta in Meuse-Rhine-Yssel cattle

Lindert Benedictus, A.P. Koets, F.H.J. Kuijpers, I. Joosten, P. van Eldik, H.C.M. Heuven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Failure of the timely expulsion of the fetal membranes, called retained placenta, leads to reduced fertility, increased veterinary costs and reduced milk yields. The objectives of this study were to concurrently look at the heritable and non-heritable genetic effects on retained placenta and test the hypothesis that a greater coefficient of relationship between dam and calf increases the risk of retained placenta in the dam.

The average incidence of retained placenta in 43,661 calvings of Meuse-Rhine-Yssel cattle was 4.5%, ranging from 0% to 29.6% among half-sib groups. The average pedigree based relationship between the sire and the maternal grandsire was 0.05 and ranged from 0 to 1.04. Using a sire-maternal grandsire model the heritability was estimated at 0.22 (SEM = 0.07) which is comparable with estimates for other dual purpose breeds. The coefficient of relationship between the sire and the maternal grandsire had an effect on retained placenta. The coefficient of relationship between the sire and the maternal grandsire was used as a proxy for the coefficient of relationship between dam and calf, which is correlated with the probability of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I compatibility between dam and calf. MHC class I compatibility is an important risk factor for retained placenta. Although the MHC class I haplotype is genetically determined, MHC class I compatibility is not heritable. This study shows that selection against retained placenta is possible and indicates that preventing the mating of related parents may play a role in the prevention of retained placenta.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalAnimal Reproduction Science
Volume137
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Retained placenta
  • Heritability
  • Major histocompatibility complex class I
  • Immunology

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