Twinning in cattle is a complex trait that is associated with economic loss and health issues such as abortion, dystocia, and reduced calf survival. Twinning-rate QTL have been detected previously on BTA5 in the North American Holstein and Norwegian dairy cattle populations and in a USDA herd selected for high twinning rate. In previous work with the North American Holstein population, the strongest evidence for a QTL was obtained from analysis of an extended, multiple-generation family. Using additional animals, an increased density of SNP marker association tests, and a combined linkage and linkage disequilibrium mapping method, we refined the position of this QTL in the North American Holstein population. Two sets of twinning-rate predicted transmitting abilities estimated during 2 different time periods in the North American dairy cattle population were used to provide validation of results. A total of 106 SNP and 3 microsatellites were used to scan the genomic region between 5 and 80 Mb on BTA5. Combined linkage-linkage disequilibrium analysis identified significant evidence for QTL within the 25- to 35-Mb and 64- to 70-Mb regions of BTA5. The IGF-1 gene (IGF1) was examined as a positional candidate gene and an SNP in intron 2 of IGF1 was significantly associated with twinning rate by using both data sets (P = 0.003 and P = 1.05 × 10 -6). Replication of this association in other cattle populations will be required to examine the extent of linkage disequilibrium with the underlying quantitative trait nucleotide across breeds.
- Insulin-like growth factor-1