Associated regions for multiple birth in Brown Swiss and Original Braunvieh cattle on chromosomes 15 and 11

Anim Genet. 2022 Oct;53(5):557-569. doi: 10.1111/age.13229. Epub 2022 Jun 24.


Twin and multiple births have negative effects on the performance and health of cows and calves. To decipher the genetic architecture of this trait in the two Swiss Brown Swiss cattle populations, we performed various association analyses based on de-regressed breeding values. Genome-wide association analyses were executed using ~600 K imputed SNPs for the maternal multiple birth trait in ~3500 Original Braunvieh and ~7800 Brown Swiss animals. Significantly associated QTL were observed on different chromosomes for both breeds. We have identified on chromosome 11 a QTL that explains ~6% of the total genetic variance of the maternal multiple birth trait in Original Braunvieh. For the Brown Swiss breed, we have discovered a QTL on chromosome 15 that accounts for ~4% of the total genetic variance. For Original Braunvieh, subsequent haplotype analysis revealed a 90-kb window on chromosome 11 at 88 Mb, where a likely regulatory region is located close to the ID2 gene. In Brown Swiss, a 130-kb window at 75 Mb on chromosome 15 was identified. Analysis of whole-genome sequence data using linkage-disequilibrium estimation revealed possible causal variants for the identified QTL. A presumably regulatory variant in the non-coding 5' region of the ID2 gene was strongly associated with the haplotype for Original Braunvieh. In Brown Swiss, an intron variant in PRDM11, one 3' UTR variant in SYT13 and three intergenic variants 5' upstream of SYT13 were identified as candidate variants for the trait multiple birth maternal. In this study, we report for the first time QTL for the trait of multiple births in Original Braunvieh and Brown Swiss cattle. Moreover, our findings are another step towards a better understanding of the complex genetic architecture of this polygenic trait.

Keywords: Bos taurus; marker-assisted selection; ovulation rate; quantitative trait loci; twinning rate.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle / genetics
  • Chromosomes
  • Female
  • Genome-Wide Association Study* / veterinary
  • Multiple Birth Offspring*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Animal* / genetics
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*
  • Synaptotagmins / genetics


  • Synaptotagmins