International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 58, Issue 7, pp 1665–1672 | Cite as

Beef cattle body temperature during climatic stress: a genome-wide association study

  • Jeremy T. Howard
  • Stephen D. Kachman
  • Warren M. Snelling
  • E. John Pollak
  • Daniel C. Ciobanu
  • Larry A. Kuehn
  • Matthew L. SpanglerEmail author
Original Paper


Cattle are reared in diverse environments and collecting phenotypic body temperature (BT) measurements to characterize BT variation across diverse environments is difficult and expensive. To better understand the genetic basis of BT regulation, a genome-wide association study was conducted utilizing crossbred steers and heifers totaling 239 animals of unknown pedigree and breed fraction. During predicted extreme heat and cold stress events, hourly tympanic and vaginal BT devices were placed in steers and heifers, respectively. Individuals were genotyped with the BovineSNP50K_v2 assay and data analyzed using Bayesian models for area under the curve (AUC), a measure of BT over time, using hourly BT observations summed across 5-days (AUC summer 5-day (AUCS5D) and AUC winter 5-day (AUCW5D)). Posterior heritability estimates were moderate to high and were estimated to be 0.68 and 0.21 for AUCS5D and AUCW5D, respectively. Moderately positive correlations between direct genomic values for AUCS5D and AUCW5D (0.40) were found, although a small percentage of the top 5 % 1-Mb windows were in common. Different sets of genes were associated with BT during winter and summer, thus simultaneous selection for animals tolerant to both heat and cold appears possible.


Beef cattle Body temperature Genome-wide association study 



The authors would like to thank Leslie J. Johnson, Stephanie Moore, Cody Schneider, and Brandon Nuttelman for their assistance during data collection and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Layman award for funding of the project.


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Copyright information

© ISB 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeremy T. Howard
    • 1
  • Stephen D. Kachman
    • 2
  • Warren M. Snelling
    • 3
  • E. John Pollak
    • 3
  • Daniel C. Ciobanu
    • 1
  • Larry A. Kuehn
    • 3
  • Matthew L. Spangler
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.A218h Animal Science DepartmentUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA
  2. 2.Department of StatisticsUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA
  3. 3.Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Meat Animal Research CenterUSDAClay CenterUSA

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