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Open Access Research article

Genome wide scan for quantitative trait loci affecting tick resistance in cattle (Bos taurus × Bos indicus)

Marco Antonio Machado1*, Ana Luisa S Azevedo1, Roberto L Teodoro1, Maria A Pires1, Maria Gabriela CD Peixoto1, Célio de Freitas1, Márcia Cristina A Prata1, John Furlong1, Marcos Vinicius GB da Silva1, Simone EF Guimarães2, Luciana CA Regitano3, Luiz L Coutinho4, Gustavo Gasparin5 and Rui S Verneque1

Author Affiliations

1 Embrapa Gado de Leite, Juiz de Fora, MG, Brazil

2 Departamento de Zootecnia, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Viçosa, MG, Brazil

3 Embrapa Pecuária Sudeste, São Carlos, SP, Brazil

4 Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz, Universidade de São Paulo, Piracicaba, SP, Brazil

5 Departamento de Genética e Evolução, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Rodovia Washington Luiz km 235, São Carlos/SP 13565-905, Brazil

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BMC Genomics 2010, 11:280  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-280

Published: 30 April 2010

Abstract

Background

In tropical countries, losses caused by bovine tick Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus infestation have a tremendous economic impact on cattle production systems. Genetic variation between Bos taurus and Bos indicus to tick resistance and molecular biology tools might allow for the identification of molecular markers linked to resistance traits that could be used as an auxiliary tool in selection programs. The objective of this work was to identify QTL associated with tick resistance/susceptibility in a bovine F2 population derived from the Gyr (Bos indicus) × Holstein (Bos taurus) cross.

Results

Through a whole genome scan with microsatellite markers, we were able to map six genomic regions associated with bovine tick resistance. For most QTL, we have found that depending on the tick evaluation season (dry and rainy) different sets of genes could be involved in the resistance mechanism. We identified dry season specific QTL on BTA 2 and 10, rainy season specific QTL on BTA 5, 11 and 27. We also found a highly significant genome wide QTL for both dry and rainy seasons in the central region of BTA 23.

Conclusions

The experimental F2 population derived from Gyr × Holstein cross successfully allowed the identification of six highly significant QTL associated with tick resistance in cattle. QTL located on BTA 23 might be related with the bovine histocompatibility complex. Further investigation of these QTL will help to isolate candidate genes involved with tick resistance in cattle.