Milk urea nitrogen concentration: heritability and genetic correlations with reproductive performance and disease

R G Mitchell, G W Rogers, C D Dechow, J E Vallimont, J B Cooper, U Sander-Nielsen, J S Clay
Journal of Dairy Science 2005, 88 (12): 4434-40
The objectives of this study were to estimate the heritability of milk urea nitrogen (MUN) concentration and describe the genetic relationship between MUN and reproductive performance and between MUN and diseases in Holsteins. Dairy Records Management Systems (Raleigh, NC) provided lactation data. The Danish Agricultural Advisory Center provided breeding value estimates for diseases. Infrared (IR) and wet chemistry (WC) data were analyzed separately. Heritabilities and genetic correlations for 2 different measures of MUN and reproductive performance were estimated with an animal model using ASREML. Heritabilities for MUN were estimated using all lactations combined (lactations 1 through 5) and separately for first lactation and second lactation. Genetic correlations with reproduction and health were estimated separately for parities 1 and 2. Herd-test-day or herd-year-season along with age at calving and days in milk were included as fixed effects in all models. Heritability estimates for all lactations combined were 0.15 for WC MUN and 0.22 for IR MUN. Genetic correlations between WC MUN and 2 measures of reproductive performance, days to first service, and first service conception were not different from zero. In contrast, the genetic correlation between WC MUN and days open of 0.21 in first lactation and 0.41 in second lactation indicated that higher WC MUN values were associated with increased days open. Correlations among estimated breeding values for MUN and estimated breeding values for Danish diseases identified no significant relationships. Although the results of this study indicate that heritable variation for MUN exists, the inability to identify significant genetic relationships with several measures of disease or reproductive performance appears to limit the value of MUN in selection for disease resistance and improved reproduction.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"