, Volume 71, Issue 1, pp 35–47 | Cite as

A genome-wide association study for mastitis resistance in phenotypically well-characterized Holstein dairy cattle using a selective genotyping approach

  • Jacqueline P. Kurz
  • Zhou Yang
  • Robert B. Weiss
  • David J. WilsonEmail author
  • Kerry A. Rood
  • George E. LiuEmail author
  • Zhongde WangEmail author
Original Article


A decrease in the incidence of bovine mastitis, the costliest disease in the dairy industry, can be facilitated through genetic marker-assisted selective breeding programs. Identification of genomic variants associated with mastitis resistance is an ongoing endeavor for which genome-wide association studies (GWAS) using high-density arrays provide a valuable tool. We identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in Holstein dairy cattle associated with mastitis resistance in a GWAS by using a high-density SNP array. Mastitis-resistant (15) and mastitis-susceptible (28) phenotypic extremes were identified from 224 lactating dairy cows on commercial dairy farm located in Utah based on multiple criteria of mastitis resistance over an 8-month period. Twenty-seven quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for mastitis resistance were identified based on 117 SNPs suggestive of genome-wide significance for mastitis resistance (p ≤ 1 × 10−4), including 10 novel QTLs. Seventeen QTLs overlapped previously reported QTLs of traits relevant to mastitis, including four QTLs for teat length. One QTL includes the RAS guanyl-releasing protein 1 gene (RASGRP1), a candidate gene for mastitis resistance. This GWAS identifies 117 candidate SNPs and 27 QTLs for mastitis resistance using a selective genotyping approach, including 10 novel QTLs. Based on overlap with previously identified QTLs, teat length appears to be an important trait in mastitis resistance. RASGRP1, overlapped by one QTL, is a candidate gene for mastitis resistance.


Genome-wide association study Bovine mastitis resistance Selective genotyping Cattle 



The support and resources from the Center for High Performance Computing at the University of Utah are gratefully acknowledged.

Funding information

Funding for sample collection and data analysis was provided by the Utah Agriculture Experiment Station (Utah State University Extension Grants Program to Zhongde Wang) and the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (Cap Ferry Agricultural Grant Fund to Zhongde Wang). The funding body had no role in the design of the study and collection, analysis, and interpretation of data or in writing the manuscript. The computational resources used were partially funded by the NIH Shared Instrumentation Grant 1S10OD021644-01A1.

Compliance with ethical standards

The use of animals in this study was approved by the Utah State University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (protocol IACUC-2282), and permission was obtained from the cattle owner. All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practices at which the studies were conducted.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

251_2018_1088_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (43 kb)
Online Resource 1 SNPs nominal for genome-wide significance for bovine mastitis resistance. (XLSX 43 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Animal, Dairy and Veterinary SciencesUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  2. 2.Utah Veterinary Diagnostic LaboratoryUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  3. 3.School of Veterinary MedicineUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  4. 4.Key Laboratory of Agricultural Animal Genetics, Breeding and Reproduction, Education Ministry of ChinaHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanChina
  5. 5.Department of Human GeneticsUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  6. 6.Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory, BARC, USDA-ARSBeltsvilleUSA

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