Pioneering: Microbiability– new insights into (genetic) modelling methane emissions of cattle G.F. Difford1,2, P. Løvendahl1, J. Lassen1, Bernt Guldbrandtsen1 & G. Sahana1 1Center for Quantitative Genetics and Genomics, Aarhus University, Blichers Allé 20, Box 50, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark gareth.difford@mbg.au.dk (Corresponding Author) 2Wageningen University & Research Animal Breeding and Genomics, P.O. Box 338, 6700 AH, Wageningen, the Netherlands Methane produced by methanogenic archaea in ruminants contributes significantly to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Inter-individual differences in methane (CH4) emission are affected by the individual’s genetics, environment (primarily feed and fodder) and also its rumen microbiome. Unlike other economic traits, controlling microbial CH4 production in dairy cattle through genetic selection strategies is in formative stages. Here we adapt existing quantitative methods to quantify the microbial contribution to CH4 emission and investigate the host genetics by microbiome interaction. The heritability (h2) of CH4 emissions was 0.19 ± 0.09 and the estimated proportion of rumen microbial variation to phenotypic variation (microbiability) was 0.15 ± 0.08. Estimating both effects jointly revealed a small interaction between the two sources of information. The moderate correlation (0.32) between estimates of individual’s genetic component and rumen microbial components confirmed this interaction. However, the correlation between an index of CH4 estimated breeding values (EBVS) with a combined index of CH4 EBVS and microbial values was 0.87, demonstrating that naivety of the rumen microbiome does not result in sever re-ranking of animals for this trait. Keywords: host microbe interaction, methane emission, microbiability, rumen microbes

Gareth Frank Difford, Peter Løvendahl, Jan Lassen, Bernt Guldbrandtsen, Goutam Sahana

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume Challenges - Environmental, , 405, 2018
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