National Engineering Laboratory for Animal Breeding, Ministry of Agricultural Key Laboratory of Animal Genetics, Breeding and Reproduction, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China. Electronic address: [Email]
Milk is regarded as an important nutrient for humans, and Chinese Holstein cows provide high-quality milk for billions of Chinese people. Therefore, detecting quantitative trait nucleotides (QTN) or candidate genes for milk production traits in Chinese Holstein is important. In this study, we performed genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in a Chinese Holstein population of 6,675 cows and 71,633 SNP using deregressed proofs (DRP) as phenotypes to replicate our previous study in a population of 1,815 cows and 39,163 SNP using estimated breeding values (EBV) as phenotypes. The associations between 3 milk production traits-milk yield (MY), fat percentage (FP), and protein percentage (PP)-and the SNP were determined by using an efficient rotated linear mixed model, which benefits from linear transformations of genomic estimated values and Eigen decomposition of the genomic relationship matrix algorithm. In total, we detected 94 SNP that were significantly associated with one or more milk production traits, including 7 SNP for MY, 76 for FP, and 36 for PP; 87% of these SNP were distributed across Bos taurus autosomes 14 and 20. In total, 83 SNP were found to be located within the reported quantitative trait loci (QTL) regions, and one novel segment (between 1.41 and 1.49 Mb) on chromosome 14 was significantly associated with FP, which could be an important candidate QTL region. In addition, the detected intervals were narrowed down from the reported regions harboring causal variants. The top significant SNP for the 3 traits was ARS-BFGL-NGS-4939, which is located within the DGAT1 gene. Five detected genes (CYHR1, FOXH1, OPLAH, PLEC, VPS28) have effects on all 3 traits. Our study provides a suite of QTN, candidate genes, and a novel QTL associated with milk production traits, and thus forms a solid basis for genomic selection and molecular breeding for milk production traits in Chinese Holstein.