Accuracy of genomic predictions in Gyr (Bos indicus) dairy cattle

J Dairy Sci. 2017 Jul;100(7):5479-5490. doi: 10.3168/jds.2016-11811. Epub 2017 May 17.


Genomic selection may accelerate genetic progress in breeding programs of indicine breeds when compared with traditional selection methods. We present results of genomic predictions in Gyr (Bos indicus) dairy cattle of Brazil for milk yield (MY), fat yield (FY), protein yield (PY), and age at first calving using information from bulls and cows. Four different single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) chips were studied. Additionally, the effect of the use of imputed data on genomic prediction accuracy was studied. A total of 474 bulls and 1,688 cows were genotyped with the Illumina BovineHD (HD; San Diego, CA) and BovineSNP50 (50K) chip, respectively. Genotypes of cows were imputed to HD using FImpute v2.2. After quality check of data, 496,606 markers remained. The HD markers present on the GeneSeek SGGP-20Ki (15,727; Lincoln, NE), 50K (22,152), and GeneSeek GGP-75Ki (65,018) were subset and used to assess the effect of lower SNP density on accuracy of prediction. Deregressed breeding values were used as pseudophenotypes for model training. Data were split into reference and validation to mimic a forward prediction scheme. The reference population consisted of animals whose birth year was ≤2004 and consisted of either only bulls (TR1) or a combination of bulls and dams (TR2), whereas the validation set consisted of younger bulls (born after 2004). Genomic BLUP was used to estimate genomic breeding values (GEBV) and reliability of GEBV (R2PEV) was based on the prediction error variance approach. Reliability of GEBV ranged from ∼0.46 (FY and PY) to 0.56 (MY) with TR1 and from 0.51 (PY) to 0.65 (MY) with TR2. When averaged across all traits, R2PEV were substantially higher (R2PEV of TR1 = 0.50 and TR2 = 0.57) compared with reliabilities of parent averages (0.35) computed from pedigree data and based on diagonals of the coefficient matrix (prediction error variance approach). Reliability was similar for all the 4 marker panels using either TR1 or TR2, except that imputed HD cow data set led to an inflation of reliability. Reliability of GEBV could be increased by enlarging the limited bull reference population with cow information. A reduced panel of ∼15K markers resulted in reliabilities similar to using HD markers. Reliability of GEBV could be increased by enlarging the limited bull reference population with cow information.

Keywords: genomic selection; genotyping females; indicine; small population.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Brazil
  • Cattle
  • Dairying
  • Female
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genomics / standards*
  • Genotype
  • Genotyping Techniques / methods
  • Genotyping Techniques / veterinary*
  • Glycolipids / metabolism*
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Lactation
  • Lipid Droplets
  • Male
  • Milk / metabolism*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis / veterinary
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Selective Breeding / genetics*


  • Genetic Markers
  • Glycolipids
  • Glycoproteins
  • milk fat globule