Pedigree- and marker-based methods in the estimation of genetic diversity in small groups of Holstein cattle

J Anim Breed Genet. 2012 Jun;129(3):195-205. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0388.2012.00987.x. Epub 2012 Jan 27.


Genetic diversity is often evaluated using pedigree information. Currently, diversity can be evaluated in more detail over the genome based on large numbers of SNP markers. Pedigree- and SNP-based diversity were compared for two small related groups of Holstein animals genotyped with the 50 k SNP chip, genome-wide, per chromosome and for part of the genome examined. Diversity was estimated with coefficient of kinship (pedigree) and expected heterozygosity (SNP). SNP-based diversity at chromosome regions was determined using 5-Mb sliding windows, and significance of difference between groups was determined by bootstrapping. Both pedigree- and SNP-based diversity indicated more diversity in one of the groups; 26 of the 30 chromosomes showed significantly more diversity for the same group, as did 25.9% of the chromosome regions. Even in small populations that are genetically close, differences in diversity can be detected. Pedigree- and SNP-based diversity give comparable differences, but SNP-based diversity shows on which chromosome regions these differences are based. For maintaining diversity in a gene bank, SNP-based diversity gives a more detailed picture than pedigree-based diversity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle / classification
  • Cattle / genetics*
  • Chromosomes, Mammalian / genetics
  • Female
  • Genetic Markers / genetics
  • Genomics
  • Genotype
  • Male
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Pedigree*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*


  • Genetic Markers