Effect of quantitative trait loci for milk protein percentage on milk protein yield and milk yield in Israeli Holstein dairy cattle

E Lipkin, R Tal-Stein, A Friedmann, M Soller
Journal of Dairy Science 2008, 91 (4): 1614-27
Although numerous quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping studies involving milk protein percent (PP), milk yield (MY), and protein yield (PY) have been carried out, there has not been any systematic evaluation of the effects of individual QTL on these 3 interrelated traits. Consequently, the aim of the present study was to investigate the effects on MY and PY of QTL for PP previously mapped in various laboratories. The study, based on selective DNA pooling of milk samples, included 10 Israeli Holstein artificial insemination bulls, each the sire of 1,800 or more milk-recorded daughters. For each sire-trait combination across the 10 sires, milk samples of the highest and lowest daughters with respect to estimated breeding values for PP, PY, and MY were collected for pooling. A total of 134 dinucleotide microsatellites distributed over 25 bovine autosomes were used. An empirical standard error for marker-QTL linkage testing was calculated based on the variation among split samples within the same tail. Threshold comparison-wise error rate P-values were set to control proportion of false positives at P = 0.10 level for declaring significant effects at the marker-trait level. Estimates of the number of true null hypotheses for each trait were obtained from the histogram of marker comparison-wise error rate P-values. Based on these estimates, effective power of the experiment at the marker-trait level was estimated as 0.75, 0.41, and 0.73 for PP, PY, and MY. The proportion of heterozygosity at the QTL was estimated as 0.46, 0.39, and 0.40, respectively. After correcting for incomplete power and proportion of false positives, it was estimated that 38.7 and 37.5% of the markers affecting PP and MY, respectively, also affected PY. Of the markers affecting PY, 68.9 and 76.5%, respectively, also affected PP and MY. Apparently, none of the significant markers affected PY exclusively, and only 6.5 and 16.0%, respectively, affected PP or MY exclusively. Thus, almost all significant markers, and by inference almost all QTL, had effects on at least 2 of the 3 traits.

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