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Fine mapping quantitative trait loci for feed intake and feed efficiency in beef cattle

Sherman, E.L., Nkrumah, J.D., Li, C., Bartusiak, R., Murdoch, B., Moore, S.S. (2009). Fine mapping quantitative trait loci for feed intake and feed efficiency in beef cattle, 87(1), 37-45.


Feed intake and feed efficiency are economically important traits in beef cattle because feed is the greatest variable cost in production. Feed efficiency can be measured as feed conversion ratio (FCR, intake per unit gain) or residual feed intake (RFI, measured as DMI corrected for BW and growth rate, and sometimes a measure of body composition, usually carcass fatness, RFLjf). The goal of this study was to fine map QTL for these traits in beef cattle using 2,194 markers on 24 autosomes. The animals used were from 20 half-sib families originating from Angus, Charoláis, and University of Alberta Hybrid bulls. A mixed model with random sire and fixed QTL effect nested within sire was used to test each location (cM) along the chromosomes. Threshold levels were determined at the chromosome and genome levels using 20,000 permutations. In total, 4 QTL exceeded the genome-wise threshold of P < 0.001, 3 exceeded at P < 0.01, 17 at P < 0.05, and 30 achieved significance at the chromosome-wise threshold level (at least P < 0.05). No QTL were detected on BTA 8, 16, and 27 above the 5% chromosome-wise significance threshold for any of the traits. Nineteen chromosomes contained RFI QTL significant at the chromosome-wise level. The RFI bf QTL results were generally similar to those of RFI, the positions being similar, but occasionally differing in the level of significance. Compared with RFI, fewer QTL were detected for both FCR and DMI, 12 and 4 QTL, respectively, at the genome-wise thresholds. Some chromosomes contained FCR QTL, but not RFI QTL, but all DMI QTL were on chromosomes where RFI QTL were detected. The most significant QTL for RFI was located on BTA 3 at 82 cM (P = 7.60 × 10 -5), for FCR on BTA 24 at 59 cM (P = 0.0002), and for DMI on BTA 7 at 54 cM (P = 1.38 × 10 -5). The RFI QTL that showed the most consistent results with previous RFI QTL mapping studies were on BTA 1, 7, 18, and 19. The identification of these QTL provides a starting point to identify genes affecting feed intake and efficiency for use in markerassisted selection and management. © 2009 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.

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