Multiple country and breed genomic prediction of tick resistance in beef cattle

Fernando Flores Cardoso, Oswald Matika, Appolinaire Djikeng, Ntanganedzeni Mapholi, Heather M. Burrow, Marcos Jun Iti Yokoo, Gabriel Soares Campos, Claudia Cristina Gulias-Gomes, Valentina Riggio, Ricardo Pong-Wong, Bailey Engle, Laercio Porto-Neto, Azwihangwisi Maiwashe, Ben J Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Ticks cause substantial production losses for beef and dairy cattle. Cattle resistance to ticks is one of the most important factors affecting tick control, but largely neglected due to the challenge of phenotyping. In this study, we evaluate the pooling of tick resistance phenotyped reference populations from multi-country beef cattle breeds to assess the possibility of improving host resistance through multi-trait genomic selection. Data consisted of tick counts or scores assessing the number of female ticks at least 4.5 mm length and derived from seven populations, with breed, country, number of records and genotyped/phenotyped animals being respectively: Angus (AN), Brazil, 2,263, 921/1,156, Hereford (HH), Brazil, 6,615, 1,910/2,802, Brangus (BN), Brazil, 2,441, 851/851, Braford (BO), Brazil, 9,523, 3,062/4,095, Tropical Composite (TC), Australia, 229, 229/229, Brahman (BR), Australia, 675, 675/675, and Nguni (NG), South Africa, 490, 490/490. All populations were genotyped using medium density Illumina SNP BeadChips and imputed to a common high-density panel of 332,468 markers. The mean linkage disequilibrium (LD) between adjacent SNPs varied from 0.24 to 0.37 across populations and so was sufficient to allow genomic breeding values (GEBV) prediction. Correlations of LD phase between breeds were higher between composites and their founder breeds (0.81 to 0.95) and lower between NG and the other breeds (0.27 and 0.35). There was wide range of estimated heritability (0.05 and 0.42) and genetic correlation (-0.01 and 0.87) for tick resistance across the studied populations, with the largest genetic correlation observed between BN and BO. Predictive ability was improved under the old-young validation for three of the seven populations using a multi-trait approach compared to a single trait within-population prediction, while whole and partial data GEBV correlations increased in all cases, with relative improvements ranging from 3% for BO to 64% for TC. Moreover, the multi-trait analysis was useful to correct typical over-dispersion of the GEBV. Results from this study indicate that a joint genomic evaluation of AN, HH, BN, BO and BR can be readily implemented to improve tick resistance of these populations using selection on GEBV. For NG and TC additional phenotyping will be required to obtain accurate GEBV.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Early online date23 Jun 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jun 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • beef cattle
  • genomic selection
  • host resistance
  • ticks
  • tropical adaptation


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