In New Zealand, enteric emissions of methane (CH4) from livestock account for 33% of greenhouse gas emissions. Breeding animals for lower CH4 emissions could provide a sustainable mitigation tool. Genomic prediction and genome wide association analyses were performed using estimated breeding values for CH4 emissions adjusted for feed intake (gCH4/kgDMI) in 1,872 dual purpose sheep. Analyses were performed using genotypes from the Illumina Ovine 50K BeadChip. SNP effects were estimated using a genomic best linear unbiased prediction model. Results show molecular breeding values with moderate accuracies of 0.37 for gross CH4 and 0.43 for gCH4/kgDMI. Two markers located on chromosome 9 (P<9.42E-05) and 25 (P<1.03E-05), were associated with CH4 and gCH4/kgDMI respectively. These markers are within or close to plausible physiological candidates, but did not meet the genome-wide significance threshold. With high-density genotypes there is further potential to identify loci associated with CH4 emissions.

Suzanne J Rowe, John C McEwan, Sharon M Hickey, Rayna A Anderson, Diane Hyndman, Emily A Young, Haley Baird, Ken G Dodds, Cesar S Pinares-Patino, Natalie K Pickering

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume Genetic Improvement Programs: Selection for harsh environments and management of animal genetic resources, , 043, 2014
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