Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)

Genetic diversity and the impact of the breed proportions of US Brown Swiss in German Brown cattle

Increase of inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity have large impact on farm animal genetic resources. Therefore, the aims of the present study were to analyse measures of genetic diversity as well as recent and ancestral inbreeding using pedigree data of the German Brown population, and to identify causes for loss of genetic diversity. The reference population included 922,333 German Brown animals born from 1990 to 2014. Pedigree depth and completeness reached an average number of complete equivalent generations of 6.24. Estimated effective population size for the German Brown reference population was about 112 with a declining trend from 141 to 95 for the birth years. Individual inbreeding coefficients increased from 0.013 to 0.036. Effective number of founders, ancestors and founder genomes of 63.6, 36.23 and 20.34 indicated unequal contributions to the reference population. Thirteen ancestors explained 50% of the genetic diversity. Higher breed proportions of US Brown Swiss were associated with higher levels of individual inbreeding. Ancestral inbreeding coefficients, which are indicative for exposure of ancestors to identical-by-descent alleles, increased with birth years but recent individual inbreeding was higher than ancestral inbreeding. Given the increase of inbreeding and decline of effective population size, measures to decrease rate of inbreeding and increase effective population size through employment of a larger number of sires are advisable.

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