2024 journal article

Inbreeding depression for producer-recorded udder, metabolic, and reproductive diseases in US dairy cattle

Journal of Dairy Science.

Source: ORCID
Added: December 5, 2023

This study leveraged a growing data set of producer-recorded phenotypes for mastitis, reproductive diseases (metritis and retained placenta), and metabolic diseases (ketosis, milk fever, and displaced abomasum) to investigate the potential presence of inbreeding depression for these disease traits. Phenotypic, pedigree, and genomic information were obtained for 354,043 and 68,292 US Holstein and Jersey cows, respectively. Total inbreeding coefficients were calculated using both pedigree and genomic information; the latter included inbreeding estimates obtained using a genomic relationship matrix and runs of homozygosity (ROH). We also generated inbreeding coefficients based on the generational inbreeding for recent and old pedigree inbreeding, for different ROH length classes, and for recent and old homozygous-by-descent segment-based inbreeding. Estimates on the liability scale revealed significant evidence of inbreeding depression for reproductive disease traits, with an increase in total pedigree and genomic inbreeding showing a notable effect for recent inbreeding. However, we found inconsistent evidence for inbreeding depression for mastitis or any metabolic diseases. Notably, in Holsteins, the probability of developing displaced abomasum decreased with inbreeding, particularly for older inbreeding. Estimates of disease probability for cows with low, average, and high inbreeding levels did not significantly differ across any inbreeding coefficient and trait combination, indicating that while inbreeding may impact disease incidence, it likely plays a smaller role compared with management and environmental factors.