A genome-wide association study for genetic susceptibility to Mycobacterium bovis infection in dairy cattle identifies a susceptibility QTL on chromosome 23

Ian W. Richardson, Donagh P. Berry, Heather L. Wiencko, Isabella M. Higgins, Simon J. More, Jennifer McClure, David Lynn, Daniel G. Bradley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) infection in cattle is a significant economic concern in many countries, with annual costs to the UK and Irish governments of approximately €190 million and €63 million, respectively, for bTB control. The existence of host additive and non-additive genetic components to bTB susceptibility has been established. Methods: Two approaches i.e. single-SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) regression and a Bayesian method were applied to genome-wide association studies (GWAS) using high-density SNP genotypes (n = 597,144 SNPs) from 841 dairy artificial insemination (AI) sires. Deregressed estimated breeding values for bTB susceptibility were used as the quantitative dependent variable. Network analysis was performed using the quantitative trait loci (QTL) that were identified as significant in the single-SNP regression and Bayesian analyses separately. In addition, an identity-by-descent analysis was performed on a subset of the most prolific sires in the dataset that showed contrasting prevalences of bTB infection in daughters. Results: A significant QTL region was identified on BTA23 (P value >1 × 10-5, Bayes factor >10) across all analyses. Sires with the minor allele (minor allele frequency = 0.136) for this QTL on BTA23 had estimated breeding values that conferred a greater susceptibility to bTB infection than those that were homozygous for the major allele. Imputation of the regions that flank this QTL on BTA23 to full sequence indicated that the most significant associations were located within introns of the FKBP5 gene. Conclusions: A genomic region on BTA23 that is strongly associated with host susceptibility to bTB infection was identified. This region contained FKBP5, a gene involved in the TNFα/NFκ-B signalling pathway, which is a major biological pathway associated with immune response. Although there is no study that validates this region in the literature, our approach represents one of the most powerful studies for the analysis of bTB susceptibility to date.

Original languageEnglish
Article number197
JournalGenetics Selection Evolution
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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