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Exploring underlying drivers of genotype by environment interactions in feed efficiency traits for dairy cattle with a mechanistic model involving energy acquisition and allocation

Abstract : Feed efficiency (FE) is a complex phenotype made up of multiple traits for which there is potential for substantial genotype by environment interaction (G & times; E). The objective of this study is to evaluate the extent of G & times; E for FE traits with a simulation approach. We used a mechanistic model of the dairy cow that simulates trajectories of phenotypes throughout lifetime, depending on trajectories of resource acquisition and allocation, driven by 4 genetic scaling parameters, and depending on the nutritional environment (quantity and quality of feed resources). The cow model, calibrated for a grass-based farming system and seasonal calving, was combined with a genetic module. This simulated genetic variation in the 4 genetic scaling parameters related to resource acquisition and allocation, based on a simple balanced pedigree structure (200 paternal half-sib groups each of 100 daughters). The population of 20,000 cows generated was simulated in 4 nutritional environment scenarios, representing a gradient of feeding constraints. In each scenario, 6 traits derived from the model outputs were analyzed to obtain population genetic parameters. Genetic correlations between second-lactation production and FE were positive and high in all scenarios and increased as the nutritional environment became more constraining. A measure of lifetime FE was positively correlated with second -lactation production under a less constrained environment, but these correlations decreased as the environment became more constraining. The genetic correlation between body reserves at second calving, and lifetime FE was positive and low in the least constraining scenario and increased as the environment became more constraining. In addition to genetic parameters, we looked at the distributions of acquisition and allocation pa rameters among the best performing cows for lactation and life FE, in the 2 most contrasted scenarios. The 4 subpopulations of best cows had acquisition and allocation strategies different from the whole population. In conclusion, this simulation study identifies the potential underlying biological basis for important G & times; E in FE traits. This highlights the importance of having a balanced breeding goal when undertaking selection that should also be based on phenotypes relevant to the environment.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03185854
Contributor : Vincent Ducrocq <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, March 30, 2021 - 4:31:17 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, July 31, 2021 - 3:57:28 AM

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Laurence Puillet, Vincent Ducrocq, Nicolas Friggens, P Amer. Exploring underlying drivers of genotype by environment interactions in feed efficiency traits for dairy cattle with a mechanistic model involving energy acquisition and allocation. Journal of Dairy Science, American Dairy Science Association, 2021, 104 (5), pp.5805-5816. ⟨10.3168/jds.2020-19610⟩. ⟨hal-03185854⟩

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