A genome-wide association study for clinical mastitis in the dual-purpose German Black Pied cattle breed

Saskia Meier, Danny Arends, Paula Korkuć, Guilherme B. Neumann, Gudrun A. Brockmann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The dual-purpose German Black Pied Cattle (DSN) has become an endangered breed of approximately 2,550 registered cows in Germany. The breed is genetically related to Holstein-Friesian cattle because the old DSN breed contributed to the selection of the modern Holstein dairy cow. In dairy farms, breeders aim to improve animal health and well-being by reducing the number of mastitis cases, which would also reduce milk losses and treatment costs. On the genomic level, no markers associated with clinical mastitis have been reported in DSN. Therefore, we performed a genome-wide association study on 1,062 DSN cows using a univariate linear mixed model that included a relatedness matrix to correct for population stratification. Although the statistical power was limited by the small population size, 3 markers were significantly associated, and 2 additional markers showed a suggestive association with clinical mastitis. Those markers accounted for 1 to 3% of the variance of clinical mastitis in the examined DSN population. One marker was found in the intragenic region of NEURL1 on BTA26, and the other 4 markers in intergenic regions on BTA3, BTA6, and BTA9. Further analyses identified 23 positional candidate genes. Among them is BMPR1B, which has been previously associated with clinical mastitis in other dairy cattle breeds. The markers presented here can be used for selection for mastitis-resistant animals in the endangered DSN population, and can broadly contribute to a better understanding of mastitis determinants in dairy cattle breeds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10289-10298
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number11
Early online date10 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


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