A new Holstein Haplotype affecting calf survival


  • Sandra Kipp vit Verden
  • Dierck Segelke vit Verden
  • Friedrich Reinhardt vit Verden
  • Reinhard Reents vit Verden
  • Sven Schierenbeck vit Verden
  • Christine Wurmser TU München, Chair of Animal Breeding
  • Hubert Pausch TU München, Chair of Animal Breeding
  • Ruedi Fries TU München, Chair of Animal Breeding
  • Georg Thaller CAU Kiel, Chair of Animal Breeding
  • Jens Tetens CAU Kiel, Chair of Animal Breeding
  • Josef Pott Masterrind
  • Marion Piechotta Clinic for Cattle, TiHo Hanover
  • Walter Grünberg Clinic for Cattle, TiHo Hanover


calf survival, haplotype, cholesterol


In recent years, the availability of phenotypic records and genomic data for cattle and the application of genomic tools revealed haplotypes affecting fertility and prenatal death. This study reports the identification of a new haplotype associated with calf survival in the Holstein population. Several calves from specific mating initially showed unspecific symptoms like chronic diarrhea and insufficient development. Affected animals died within the first months of life despite of symptomatic treatment. A genome-wide case-control-study based on 54K SNP Chip genotypes determined a causal region at BTA 11. Subsequent homozygosity mapping identified a haplotype affecting calf mortality in the homozygous state. Blood chemical analysis of affected calves revealed pronounced hypocholesterolemia indicating a disorder of the fat metabolism. Heterozygous animals without clinical manifestations show decreased levels of blood cholesterol suggesting a codominant inheritance for this genetic defect. Pedigree analyses revealed a prominent Canadian Holstein bull; MAUGHLIN STORM, as a carrier for this disorder. The widespread use of this bull and of its sons in the breeding program lead to a strong increase of the haplotype frequency in the German Holstein population within the last years. The occurrence of an identical healthy haplotype and the presence of several gaps within the bovine genome complicate the identification of a concordant variant.