Evaluating markers in selected genes for association with functional longevity of dairy cattle
1 Department of Animal Genetics, Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Kożuchowska 7, 51-631 Wrocław, Poland
2 Institute of Natural Sciences, Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Norwida 25, 50-375 Wrocław, Poland
3 Department of Genetics and Animal Breeding, University of Agriculture in Cracow, Mickiewicza 24/28, 30-059 Cracow, Poland
4 Department of Cattle Breeding and Milk Production, Poznan University of Life Sciences, Wojska Polskiego 71A, 60-625 Poznań, Poland
5 National Research Institute of Animal Production, Balice, 32-083 Cracow, Poland
BMC Genetics 2011, 12:30 doi:10.1186/1471-2156-12-30Published: 10 March 2011
Longevity expressed as the number of days between birth and death is a trait of great importance for both human and animal populations. In our analysis we use dairy cattle to demonstrate how the association of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) located within selected genes with longevity can be modeled. Such an approach can be extended to any genotyped population with time to endpoint information available. Our study is focused on selected genes in order to answer the question whether genes, known to be involved into the physiological determination of milk production, also influence individual's survival.
Generally, the highest risk differences among animals with different genotypes are observed for polymorphisms located within the leptin gene. The polymorphism with a highest effect on functional longevity is LEP-R25C, for which the relative risk of culling for cows with genotype CC is 3.14 times higher than for the heterozygous animals. Apart from LEP-R25C, also FF homozygotes at the LEP-Y7F substitution attribute 3.64 times higher risk of culling than the YY homozygotes and VV homozygotes at LEP-A80V have 1.83 times higher risk of culling than AA homozygotes. Differences in risks between genotypes of polymorphisms within the other genes (the butyrophilin subfamily 1 member A1 gene, BTN1A1; the acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1 gene, DGAT1; the leptin receptor gene, LEPR; the ATP-binding cassette sub-family G member 2, ABCG2) are much smaller.
Our results indicate association between LEP and longevity and are very well supported by results of other studies related to dairy cattle. In view of the growing importance of functional traits in dairy cattle, LEP polymorphisms should be considered as markers supporting selection decisions. Furthermore, since the relationship between both LEP polymorphism and its protein product with longevity in humans is well documented, with our result we were able to demonstrate that livestock with its detailed records of family structure, genetic, and environmental factors as well as extensive trait recording can be a good model organism for research aspects related to humans.