Statistical associations between restriction fragment length polymorphisms and quantitative traits in beef cattle
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Data on 41 traits from 677 animals produced in a five-breed diallel were matched with genotypes for five marker-loci provided by restriction fragment length polymorphisms to detect quantitative effects associated with the markers, following three different designs based on inbred lines, half-sib families, and on assumptions of the markers being quantitative trait loci (QTL). Three growth hormone-TaqI alleles, B, C, and D, in high frequencies in this sample of the Brahman breed, were associated with decreases in birth weight, as a maternal trait (P < .01), and decreases in shoulder width at birth (P < .05). Among F2 Angus-Brahman and Brahman-Hereford cows, homozygotes for the B, C, or D alleles gave birth to calves 4.0 kg lighter than cows homozygous for the A allele, an effect that amounts to the magnitude of the corresponding breed difference in the diallel, and represents one phenotypic SD. A putative cytoplasmic effect seems to interact (P = .02) with this effect on maternal birth weight. Also, at birth, F2 calves homozygous for the B, C, or D alleles were .8 cm narrower at the shoulders than those homozygous for the A allele, after adjusting for birth weight. Significant associations (P < .05) between the parathyroid hormone-MspI marker and measures of body size were detected, as well as an effect on weaning weight (P = .03) as a maternal trait, whose magnitude (17.5 kg) equals the Brahman vs Angus and Hereford breed difference, as quantified in the diallel, and represents .8 of a phenotypic SD. No significant associations were found for three other marker-loci (prolactin-MspI, osteonectin-EcoRI, and keratin VI-MspI). Restriction fragment length polymorphisms have the potential to provide new insights and useful applications to animal breeding, but, as in this work, small sample sizes, extreme susceptibility to Type I errors, and different types of possible confounding obfuscate the conclusions that can be drawn from studies of limited scope and less than ideal planning.
author list (cited authors)
Rocha, J. L., Baker, J. F., Womack, J. E., Sanders, J. O., & Taylor, J. F.
complete list of authors
Rocha, JL||Baker, JF||Womack, JE||Sanders, JO||Taylor, JF