Genome-wide association studies for the concentrations of insulin, triiodothyronine, and thyroxine in Chinese Holstein cattle

  • Gan QianFu 
  • Li YiRan 
  • Liu QingHua 
  • M. Lund
  • Su GuoSheng. 
  • Liang XueWu. Email author
Regular Articles


To further understand the genetic structure that is associated with insulin (INS) and thyroid hormones (TH), including triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), in Chinese Holstein cows, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of thyroid hormones and insulin in cows. We conducted GWAS analysis on 1217 Chinese Holstein cows raised in southern China and found 19 significant single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in this study: 10 SNPs were associated with INS, 5 SNPs were associated with T3, and 4 SNPs were associated with T4. In our study, the GWAS method was used for preliminary screening on related genes of traits, and due to insufficient relevant literature, a functional analysis of genes could only be based on human studies. We observed that DGKB from Bos taurus chromosome (BTA)4 is strongly associated with insulin secretion. We found that EXOC4 gene was significantly correlated with T3 and T4 traits. Another significant SNP was located in the CYP7A1 gene, which has been confirmed to be affected by thyroid hormones.


Hormone secretion Dairy cattle FarmCPU DGKB CYP7A1 



The authors are thankful to the ChangFu ranch in Fujian for the sample support for this experiment. We are particularly grateful to Mr. Zhang Yuelei and Mr. Miao Jian for their support and help in the process of data collection and analysis.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethics statement

The manuscript does not contain clinical studies or patient data.

All procedures involving animals followed the guidelines for the care and use of experimental animals approved by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Animal ScienceFujian Agriculture and Forestry UniversityFuzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Center for Quantitative Genetics and GenomicsAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark

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