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An analysis of effects of heterozygosity in dairy cattle for bovine tuberculosis resistance

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-109
JournalAnimal Genetics
Issue number2
Early online date24 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


Genetic selection of cattle more resistant to bovine tuberculosis (bTB) may offer a complementary control strategy. Hypothesising underlying non-additive genetic variation, we present an approach using genome-wide high density markers to identify genomic loci with dominance effects on bTB resistance and to test previously published regions with heterozygote advantage in bTB. Our data comprised 1151 Holstein-Friesian cows from Northern Ireland, confirmed bTB cases and controls, genotyped with the 700K Illumina BeadChip. Genome-wide markers were tested for associations between heterozygosity and bTB status using marker-based relationships. Results were tested for robustness against genetic structure, and the genotypic frequencies of a significant locus were tested for departures from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. Genomic regions identified in our study and in previous publications were tested for dominance effects. Genotypic effects were estimated through ASReml mixed models. A SNP (rs43032684) on chromosome 6 was significant at the chromosome-wide level, explaining 1.7% of the phenotypic variance. In the controls, there were fewer heterozygotes for rs43032684 (P < 0.01) with the genotypic values suggesting that heterozygosity confers a heterozygote disadvantage. The region surrounding rs43032684 had a significant dominance effect (P < 0.01). SNP rs43032684 resides within a pseudogene with a parental gene involved in macrophage response to infection and within a copy-number-variation region previously associated with nematode resistance. No dominance effect was found for the region on chromosome 11, as indicated by a previous candidate region bTB study. These findings require further validation with large-scale data.

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