Single nucleotide polymorphisms and haplotypes associated with feed efficiency in beef cattle

Nick V.L. Serão, Dianelys González-Peña, Jonathan E. Beever, Dan B. Faulkner, Bruce R. Southey, Sandra L. Rodriguez-Zas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: General, breed- and diet-dependent associations between feed efficiency in beef cattle and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) or haplotypes were identified on a population of 1321 steers using a 50 K SNP panel. Genomic associations with traditional two-step indicators of feed efficiency - residual feed intake (RFI), residual average daily gain (RADG), and residual intake gain (RIG) - were compared to associations with two complementary one-step indicators of feed efficiency: efficiency of intake (EI) and efficiency of gain (EG). Associations uncovered in a training data set were evaluated on independent validation data set. A multi-SNP model was developed to predict feed efficiency. Functional analysis of genes harboring SNPs significantly associated with feed efficiency and network visualization aided in the interpretation of the results. Results: For the five feed efficiency indicators, the numbers of general, breed-dependent, and diet-dependent associations with SNPs (P-value < 0.0001) were 31, 40, and 25, and with haplotypes were six, ten, and nine, respectively. Of these, 20 SNP and six haplotype associations overlapped between RFI and EI, and five SNP and one haplotype associations overlapped between RADG and EG. This result confirms the complementary value of the one and two-step indicators. The multi-SNP models included 89 SNPs and offered a precise prediction of the five feed efficiency indicators. The associations of 17 SNPs and 7 haplotypes with feed efficiency were confirmed on the validation data set. Nine clusters of Gene Ontology and KEGG pathway categories (mean P-value < 0.001) including, 9nucleotide binding; ion transport, phosphorous metabolic process, and the MAPK signaling pathway were overrepresented among the genes harboring the SNPs associated with feed efficiency. Conclusions: The general SNP associations suggest that a single panel of genomic variants can be used regardless of breed and diet. The breed- and diet-dependent associations between SNPs and feed efficiency suggest that further refinement of variant panels require the consideration of the breed and management practices. The unique genomic variants associated with the one- and two-step indicators suggest that both types of indicators offer complementary description of feed efficiency that can be exploited for genome-enabled selection purposes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number94
JournalBMC genetics
StatePublished - Sep 25 2013


  • Beef cattle
  • Feed efficiency
  • Functional analysis
  • Haplotype
  • MAPK pathway
  • Serine/Threonine kinase activity
  • Single nucleotide polymorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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