Enhancing Resistance to Ketosis through Genomics
Graduate students positions (MSc thesis or PhD) are available to work on developing genetic selection tools to reduce ketosis in dairy cattle. Students interested in animal breeding and functional genomics are encouraged to apply to:
Dr. J. Squires or Dr. C. Baes, Dept. of Animal Biosciences (firstname.lastname@example.org)
High-producing dairy cattle are susceptible to ketosis, a metabolic disease which negatively affects the health, reproduction and production of the cow. As a health trait, ketosis-resistance has a low heritability and therefore is difficult to improve by conventional selection. Selection assisted by genetic markers is a tool which allows improvement in prediction reliability for a large number of traits, including those with low heritability. In this project we analyzed the genes involved in the metabolic pathways responsible for ketosis to identify approximately 1,000 SNPs for ketosis-resistance that are not on commercial SNP arrays. We will perform association analyses based on genomic information and several different phenotypes associated with ketosis. We will then assess the feasibility of imputing these SNPs that are not currently included on commercial arrays into the Canadian population of genotyped animals. Functional analyses of the most effective genetic variants using protein expression and metabolic activity in cell lines is also planned. This work will facilitate better understanding of the genetic and biological architecture of ketosis in dairy cattle and will allow us to tailor prevention and treatment strategies for cows genetically susceptible to ketosis. It will also provide novel information to improve genomically estimated breeding values by incorporating new genetic variants into the existing genomic selection program.
Posted on April 3, 2017.
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