Association between lactoferrin single nucleotide polymorphisms and milk production traits in Polish Holstein cattle
Bovine lactoferrin exhibits strong potential for further applications as a mastitis resistance marker. Since selection for mastitis resistance should not interfere with dairy performance, we investigated the association between bovine lactoferrin gene polymorphism and production traits in Polish Holsteins. The associations between four SNPs, localized in the 5’-flanking region and in exons 4 and 9 of the lactoferrin gene, and dairy performance were examined. SNPs were associated with almost all test-day milk performance traits. Significant associations were found between lactoferrin genotypes and the estimated breeding values for those traits. To find out whether the discrepancies between the lactoferrin gene SNP’s influence on phenotype (test-day milk performance) and on estimated breeding values originate from the impact of other factors, we explored the genotype by environment interaction. Substantial impacts of SCC, lactation stage and parity were found. This paper suggests that the genotype by environment interaction may significantly change associations between genes and traits. It is important to include similar analyses to the studies on disease markers before using them in the selection.