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Single nucleotide polymorphisms at the imprinted bovine insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) locus are associated with dairy performance in Irish Holstein-Friesian cattle

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 September 2010

Erik W Berkowicz
Animal Genomics Laboratory, UCD School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
David A Magee*
Animal Genomics Laboratory, UCD School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
Klaudia M Sikora
Genetics and Biotechnology Laboratory, Department of Biochemistry, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
Donagh P Berry
Moorepark Dairy Production Research Centre, Teagasc, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland
Dawn J Howard
Animal Production Research Centre, Teagasc, Mellows Campus, Athenry, Co. Galway, Ireland
Michael P Mullen
Animal Production Research Centre, Teagasc, Mellows Campus, Athenry, Co. Galway, Ireland
Ross D Evans
Irish Cattle Breeding Federation, Highfield House, Bandon, Co. Cork, Ireland
Charles Spillane
Genetics and Biotechnology Laboratory, Department of Biochemistry, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
David E MacHugh
Animal Genomics Laboratory, UCD School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland UCD Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland
*For correspondence; e-mail:


The imprinted insulin-like growth factor 2 gene (IGF2) encodes a fetal mitogenic hormone protein (IGF-II) and has previously been shown to be associated with performance in dairy cattle. In this study we assessed genotype-phenotype associations between four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located within the bovine IGF2 locus on chromosome 29 and a range of performance traits related to milk production, animal growth and body size, fertility and progeny survival in 848 progeny-tested Irish Holstein-Friesian sires. Two of the four SNPs (rs42196909 and IGF2.g-3815A>G), which were in strong linkage disequilibrium (r2=0·995), were associated with milk yield (P⩽0·01) and milk protein yield (P⩽0·05); the rs42196901 SNP was also associated (P⩽0·05) with milk fat yield. Associations (P⩽0·05) with milk fat percentage and milk protein percentage were observed at the rs42196901 and IGF2.g-3815A>G SNPs, respectively. The rs42196909 and IGF2.g-3815A>G SNPs were also associated with progeny carcass conformation (P⩽0·05), while an association (P⩽0·01) with progeny carcass weight was observed at the rs42194733 SNP locus. None of the four SNPs were associated with body size, fertility and progeny survival. These findings support previous work which suggests that the IGF2 locus is an important biological regulator of milk production in dairy cattle and add to an accumulating body of research showing that imprinted genes influence many complex performance traits in cattle.

Research Article
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