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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Genetics and Animal Breeding » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #407533

Research Project: Genomes to Phenomes in Beef Cattle Research

Location: Genetics and Animal Breeding

Title: Variance component estimation and genome-wide association of predicted methane production in crossbred beef steers

item LAKAMP, ANDREW - Kansas State University
item AHLBERG, CASHLEY - Kansas State University
item ALLWARDT, KRISTI - Oklahoma State University
item BROOCKS, ASHELY - Oklahoma State University
item BRUNO, KELSEY - Oklahoma State University
item MCPHILLIPS, LEVI - Oklahoma State University
item TAYLOR, ALEXANDRA - Northwestern Oklahoma State University
item KREHBIEL, CLINT - Oklahoma State University
item CALVO-LORENZO, MICHELLE - Oklahoma State University
item RICHARDS, CHRIS - Oklahoma State University
item PLACE, SARA - Oklahoma State University
item DESILVA, UDAYA - Oklahoma State University
item Kuehn, Larry
item WEABER, ROBERT - Kansas State University
item BORMANN, JENNIFER - Kansas State University
item ROLF, MEGAN - Kansas State University

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/26/2023
Publication Date: 6/16/2023
Citation: Lakamp, A.D., Ahlberg, C.M., Allwardt, K., Broocks, A., Bruno, K., McPhillips, L., Taylor, A., Krehbiel, C.R., Calvo-Lorenzo, M.S., Richards, C., Place, S.E., DeSilva, U., Kuehn, L.A., Weaber, R.L., Bormann, J.M., Rolf, M.M. 2023. Variance component estimation and genome-wide association of predicted methane production in crossbred beef steers. Journal of Animal Science. 101. Article skad179.

Interpretive Summary: Cattle produce methane, a greenhouse gas, as a byproduct of their digestion. It is possible to breed for animals which naturally produce less methane; however, measuring animals for methane production can be difficult or expensive and is required for effective selection. Therefore, an alternative solution is to use a mathematical model to predict methane production and select for animals with low predicted methane. The heritability of predicted methane production from each model ranged from 0.59 to 0.62. Animals were ranked nearly identical, regardless of model used. A genome-wide association study was also conducted to determine what loci may be related to predicted methane production. One significant locus was identified on chromosome 7 related to oxidoreductase activity. Other loci approaching significance showed that genes related to collagen production, intracellular microtubule binding, and DNA transcription may be related to predicted methane production. In particular, collagen turnover may have a relationship to predicted methane because it affects growth rate, which is driven by dry matter intake, which, in turn, is the primary driver of predicted methane production.

Technical Abstract: Enteric methane is a potent greenhouse gas and represents an escape of energy from the ruminant digestive system. Additive genetic variation in methane production suggests that genetic selection offers an opportunity to diminish enteric methane emissions. Logistic and monetary difficulties in directly measuring methane emissions can make genetic evaluation on an indicator trait such as predicted methane production a more appealing option, and inclusion of genotyping data can result in greater genetic progress. Three predicted methane production traits were calculated for 830 crossbred steers fed in seven groups. The methane prediction equations used included mathematical models from Ellis et al. (2007), Mills et al. (2003), and IPCC (2019). Pearson correlations between the traits were all greater than 0.99, indicating that each prediction equation behaved similarly. Further, the Spearman correlations between the estimated breeding values for each trait were also 0.99, which suggests any of the predicted methane models could be used without substantially changing the ranking of the selection candidates. The heritabilities of Ellis, Mills, and IPCC predicted methane production were 0.60, 0.62, and 0.59, respectively. A genome-wide association study identified one single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) that reached the threshold for significance for all of the traits on chromosome 7 related to oxidoreductase activity. Additionally, the SNP slightly below the significance threshold indicate genes related to collagen, intracellular microtubules, and DNA transcription may play a role in predicted methane production or its component traits.