: Costs of production have deeply increased each year in the last decades, breeders are continuously looking for more cost effective and more efficient ways to produce milk. Despite the major signs of progress in productivity, it is fundamental to optimize rather than maximize the performances of the dairy cows. Mastitis is still a highly prevalent disease in the dairy sector which causes several economic losses and environmental effect. Its accurate and early diagnosis is crucial to improve profitability of dairy cows and contribute to a more sustainable dairy industry. Among mastitis reduction strategies, there is the urgent need to implement breeding objectives to select cows displaying mastitis resistance by investigating the genetic mechanisms at the base of the inflammatory response. Therefore, in this study we aimed to further understand the genetic background of the differential somatic cell count (DSCC), which provides thorough insights on the actual inflammatory status of the mammary glands. The objectives of this study were to estimate on a cohort of 20,215 Italian Simmental cows over a 3-yr period: (1) the heritability and repeatability values of somatic cell score (SCS) and DSCC, (2) the genetic and phenotypic correlations between these 2 traits and milk production and milk composition traits, (3) the heritability and repeatability values of SCS and DSCC within class of udder health status. Heritability was low both for SCS (0.06) and DSCC (0.08), whereas the repeatability values for these traits were 0.43 and 0.36, suggesting that the magnitude of cow permanent environmental effect for these traits is remarkable. The genetic and phenotypic correlation of SCS with DSCC was 0.612 and 0.605, respectively. Because both significantly differed from the unit, we must consider those traits as different ones. This latter aspect corroborates the need to consider the DSCC as a further indicator of inflammatory status which might be implemented in the Simmental breed genetic evaluation. It is worthy to mention that heritability estimates for SCS and DSCC were the highest in healthy cows compared with the other udder health classes. This implies that when the udder health status changes, it is most likely due to environmental factors rather than aspects related to the animal's genetics. In contrast, the highest additive genetic variance and heritability found for SCS and DSCC in the healthy group might reveal the potential to further implement breeding strategies to select for healthier animals.

Heritability and genetic correlations of total and differential somatic cell count with milk yield and composition traits in Italian Simmental cows / Ablondi, Michela; Summer, Andrea; Stocco, Giorgia; Degano, Lorenzo; Vicario, Daniele; Stefanon, Bruno; Sabbioni, Alberto; Cipolat-Gotet, Claudio. - In: JOURNAL OF DAIRY SCIENCE. - ISSN 0022-0302. - 106:12(2023), pp. 9071-9077. [10.3168/jds.2023-23639]

Heritability and genetic correlations of total and differential somatic cell count with milk yield and composition traits in Italian Simmental cows

Ablondi, Michela;Summer, Andrea;Stocco, Giorgia
;
Sabbioni, Alberto;Cipolat-Gotet, Claudio
2023-01-01

Abstract

: Costs of production have deeply increased each year in the last decades, breeders are continuously looking for more cost effective and more efficient ways to produce milk. Despite the major signs of progress in productivity, it is fundamental to optimize rather than maximize the performances of the dairy cows. Mastitis is still a highly prevalent disease in the dairy sector which causes several economic losses and environmental effect. Its accurate and early diagnosis is crucial to improve profitability of dairy cows and contribute to a more sustainable dairy industry. Among mastitis reduction strategies, there is the urgent need to implement breeding objectives to select cows displaying mastitis resistance by investigating the genetic mechanisms at the base of the inflammatory response. Therefore, in this study we aimed to further understand the genetic background of the differential somatic cell count (DSCC), which provides thorough insights on the actual inflammatory status of the mammary glands. The objectives of this study were to estimate on a cohort of 20,215 Italian Simmental cows over a 3-yr period: (1) the heritability and repeatability values of somatic cell score (SCS) and DSCC, (2) the genetic and phenotypic correlations between these 2 traits and milk production and milk composition traits, (3) the heritability and repeatability values of SCS and DSCC within class of udder health status. Heritability was low both for SCS (0.06) and DSCC (0.08), whereas the repeatability values for these traits were 0.43 and 0.36, suggesting that the magnitude of cow permanent environmental effect for these traits is remarkable. The genetic and phenotypic correlation of SCS with DSCC was 0.612 and 0.605, respectively. Because both significantly differed from the unit, we must consider those traits as different ones. This latter aspect corroborates the need to consider the DSCC as a further indicator of inflammatory status which might be implemented in the Simmental breed genetic evaluation. It is worthy to mention that heritability estimates for SCS and DSCC were the highest in healthy cows compared with the other udder health classes. This implies that when the udder health status changes, it is most likely due to environmental factors rather than aspects related to the animal's genetics. In contrast, the highest additive genetic variance and heritability found for SCS and DSCC in the healthy group might reveal the potential to further implement breeding strategies to select for healthier animals.
2023
Heritability and genetic correlations of total and differential somatic cell count with milk yield and composition traits in Italian Simmental cows / Ablondi, Michela; Summer, Andrea; Stocco, Giorgia; Degano, Lorenzo; Vicario, Daniele; Stefanon, Bruno; Sabbioni, Alberto; Cipolat-Gotet, Claudio. - In: JOURNAL OF DAIRY SCIENCE. - ISSN 0022-0302. - 106:12(2023), pp. 9071-9077. [10.3168/jds.2023-23639]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11381/2977053
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