Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2019

Genome-wide association study of normal and atypical progesterone profiles in Holstein-Friesian dairy cows

Nyman, S.; Duchemin, S., I; de Koning, D. J.; Berglund, B.


Female fertility has a major role in dairy production and affects the profitability of dairy cattle. The genetic progress obtained by traditional selection can be slow because of the low heritability of classical fertility traits. Endocrine fertility traits based on progesterone concentration in milk have higher heritability and more directly reflect the cow's own reproductive physiology. The aim of our study was to identify genomic regions for 7 endocrine fertility traits in dairy cows by performing a genome-wide association study with 54,000 SNP. The next step was to fine-map targeted genomic regions with significant SNP using imputed sequences to identify potential candidate genes associated with the normal and atypical progesterone profiles. The association between a SNP and a phenotype was assessed by a single SNP analysis, using a linear mixed model that included a random polygenic effect. Phenotypes and genotypes were available for 1,126 primiparous and multiparous Holstein-Friesian cows from research herds in Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In total, 44 significant SNP associated with 7 endocrine fertility traits were identified on .Bos taurus autosome (BTA) 1-4, 6, 8-9, 11-12, 14-17, 19, 21-24, and 29. Three chromosomes, BTA8, BTA17, and BTA23, were imputed from 54,000 SNP genotypes to the whole-genome sequence level with Beagle version 4.1. The fine-mapping identified several significant associations with delayed cyclicity, cessation of cyclicity, commencement of luteal activity, and inter-ovulatory interval. These associations may contribute to an index of markers for genetic improvement of fertility. Several potential candidate genes reported to affect reproduction were also identified in the targeted genomic regions. However, due to high linkage disequilibrium, it was not possible to identify putative causal genes or polymorphisms for any of the regions.


dairy cattle; fertility; progesterone profile; geriorne-wide association studies; imputation

Published in

Journal of Dairy Science
2019, Volume: 102, number: 4, pages: 3204-3215