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Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

Genetic and genomic relationship between methane production measured in breath and fatty acid content in milk samples from Danish Holsteins

J. Lassen A C , N. A. Poulsen B , M. K. Larsen B and A. J. Buitenhuis A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Centre for Quantitative Genetic and Genomics, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Faculty of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, PO Box 50, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark.

B Aarhus University, Department of Food Science, Blichers Allé 20, PO Box 50, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark.

C Corresponding author. Email: jan.lassen@mbg.au.dk

Animal Production Science 56(3) 298-303 https://doi.org/10.1071/AN15489
Submitted: 27 August 2015  Accepted: 15 November 2015   Published: 9 February 2016

Abstract

In this study the objective was to estimate the genetic and genomic relationship between methane-related traits and milk fatty acid profiles. This was done using two different estimation procedures: a single nucleotide polymorphism-based genomic relationship matrix and a classical pedigree-based relationship matrix. Data was generated on three Danish Holstein herds and a total of 339 cows were available for the study. Methane phenotypes were generated in milking robots during milking over a weekly period and the milk phenotypes were quantified from milk from one milking. Genetic and genomic parameters were estimated using a mixed linear model. Results showed that heritability estimates were comparable between models, but the standard error was lower for genomic heritabilities compared with genetic heritabilities. Genetic as well as genomic correlations were highly variable and had high standard errors, reflecting a similar pattern as for the heritability estimates with lower standard errors for the genomic correlations compared with the pedigree-based genetic correlations. Many of the correlations though had a magnitude that makes further studies on larger datasets worthwhile. The results indicate that genotypes are highly valuable in studies where limited number of phenotypes can be recorded. Also it shows that there is some significant genetic association between methane in the breath of the cow and milk fatty acids profiles.

Additional keywords: correlations, dairy cattle, fatty acids, heritability, methane.


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