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See detailGenetic variance in micro-environmental sensitivity for milk and milk quality in Walloon Holstein cattle
Vandenplas, Jérémie ULg; Bastin, Catherine ULg; Gengler, Nicolas ULg et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2013), 96

Animals that are robust to environmental changes are desirable in the current dairy industry. Genetic differences in micro-environmental sensitivity can be studied through heterogeneity of residual ... [more ▼]

Animals that are robust to environmental changes are desirable in the current dairy industry. Genetic differences in micro-environmental sensitivity can be studied through heterogeneity of residual variance between animals. However, residual variance between animals is usually assumed homogeneous in traditional genetic evaluations. The aim of this study was to investigate genetic heterogeneity of residual variance by estimating variance components in residual variance for milk yield, somatic cell score, contents in milk (g/dL) of two groups of milk fatty acids (i.e. saturated fatty acids and unsaturated fatty acids) and the content in milk of one individual fatty acid (i.e. the oleic acid, C18:1 cis-9), for first-parity Holstein cows in the Walloon Region of Belgium. A total of 146,027 test-day records from 26,887 cows in 747 herds were available. All cows had at least three records and had a known sire. These sires had at least 10 cows with records and each herd x test-day had at least five cows. The five traits were analyzed separately based on fixed lactation curve and random regression test-day models for the mean. Estimation of variance components was performed by running iteratively Expectation Maximization-Restricted Maximum Likelihood algorithm by the implementation of double hierarchical generalized linear models. Based on fixed lactation curve test-day mean models, heritability for residual variances ranged between 1.01*10-3 and 4.17*10-3 for all traits. The genetic standard deviation in residual variance (i.e. approximately the genetic coefficient of variation of residual variance) ranged between 0.12 and 0.17. Therefore, some genetic variance in micro-environmental sensitivity existed in the Walloon Holstein dairy cattle for the five studied traits. The standard deviations due to herd x test-day and permanent environment in residual variance ranged between 0.36 and 0.45 for herd x test-day effect and between 0.55 and 0.97 for permanent environmental effect. Therefore, non-genetic effects also contributed substantially to the micro-environmental sensitivity. Results also showed that the addition of random regressions to the mean model did not reduce heterogeneity in residual variance and that genetic heterogeneity of residual variance was not simply an effect of an incomplete mean model. [less ▲]

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See detailGenetics of mastitis in the Walloon Region of Belgium
Bastin, Catherine ULg; Vandenplas, Jérémie ULg; Laine, Aurélie ULg et al

in Book of Abstracts of the 64th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science (2013, August)

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See detailGenetics of mastitis in the Walloon Region of Belgium
Bastin, Catherine ULg; Vandenplas, Jérémie ULg; Laine, Aurélie ULg et al

Conference (2013, August)

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See detailBody condition score and milk fatty acids as indicators of dairy cattle reproductive performances
Bastin, Catherine ULg

Doctoral thesis (2013)

Improving cow fertility by means of genetic selection has become increasingly important over the last years in order to overcome the decline in dairy cow fertility that has taken place over the past ... [more ▼]

Improving cow fertility by means of genetic selection has become increasingly important over the last years in order to overcome the decline in dairy cow fertility that has taken place over the past decades. However, fertility traits are difficult to measure and have low heritabilities. Consequently, indicator traits are of interest for breeding value estimation for fertility especially if these traits are easier to measure, have higher heritabilities and are well correlated with fertility. Therefore, the objective of this thesis was to investigate the opportunity of using either fatty acid contents (FA) in milk predicted by mid-infrared spectrometry or body condition score (BCS; i.e., a subjective measure of the amount of metabolizable energy stored in a live animal) as indicator traits of female fertility. Research conducted on BCS and fertility records from Canadian Ayrshire and Holstein cows indicated that BCS was heritable and showed a low to moderate favorable genetic correlation with fertility suggesting that higher BCS would be related to better fertility. Also, based on results obtained on Walloon data, selection for higher nadir BCS was suggested as useful to change BCS curve over the lactation and improve fertility. Furthermore, using records from Walloon Holstein cows, FA were demonstrated to be moderately heritable. Genetic correlations among FA and fertility were low to moderate and changed over the lactation. Overall, the pattern of genetic correlations of fertility with BCS and FA substantiated the known relationship between energy balance status and fertility. Body fat mobilization in early lactation induces BCS loss. Also, the release of long-chain FA in milk from the body fat mobilization inhibits de novo FA synthesis in the mammary gland, leading to a decrease of short- and medium- chain FA. To conclude, this research has shown that traits based on BCS and milk FA profile fulfill criteria to be considered as indicator traits to improve indirectly fertility of dairy cows. [less ▲]

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See detailSur la voie de l’élevage laitier de précision en Wallonie - 2. ValLait, OptiVal et OptiVal+ : valoriser des données du contrôle des performances
Bastin, Catherine ULg; Gillon, A.; Massart, X. et al

in 18ème Carrefour des Productions agricoles: Nouvelles approches pour une optimisation de nos élevages laitiers (2013, February)

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See detailGenetic parameters of milk production traits and fatty acid contents in milk for Holstein cows in parity 1 – 3
Bastin, Catherine ULg; Soyeurt, Hélène ULg; Gengler, Nicolas ULg

in Journal of Animal Breeding & Genetics (2013), 130(2),

The objective of this study was to estimate genetic parameters of milk, fat, and protein yields, fat and protein contents, somatic cell count, and 17 groups and individual milk fatty acid (FA) contents ... [more ▼]

The objective of this study was to estimate genetic parameters of milk, fat, and protein yields, fat and protein contents, somatic cell count, and 17 groups and individual milk fatty acid (FA) contents predicted by mid-infrared spectrometry for first-, second- and third-parity Holstein cows. Edited data included records collected in the Walloon region of Belgium from 37 768 cows in parity 1, 22 566 cows in parity 2 and 8221 in parity 3. A total of 69 (23 traits for three parities) single-trait random regression animal test-day models were run. Approximate genetic correlations among traits were inferred from pairwise regressions among estimated breeding values of cow having observations. Heritability and genetic correlation estimates from this study reflected the origins of FA: de novo synthetized or originating from the diet and the body fat mobilization. Averaged daily heritabilities of FA contents in milk ranged between 0.18 and 0.47. Average daily genetic correlations (averaged across days in milk and parities) among groups and individual FA contents in milk ranged between 0.31 and 0.99. The genetic variability of FAs in combination with the moderate to high heritabilities indicated that FA contents in milk could be changed by genetic selection; however, desirable direction of change in these traits remains unclear and should be defined with respect to all issues of importance related to milk FA. [less ▲]

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See detailPhenotyping of robustness and milk quality
Berry, D.P.; McParland, S.; Bastin, Catherine ULg et al

in Advances in Animal Biosciences (2013), 4(3), 600-605

A phenotype describes the outcome of the interacting development between the genotype of an individual and its specific environment throughout life. Animal breeding currently exploits large data sets of ... [more ▼]

A phenotype describes the outcome of the interacting development between the genotype of an individual and its specific environment throughout life. Animal breeding currently exploits large data sets of phenotypic and pedigree information to estimate the genetic merit of animals. Here we describe rapid, low-cost phenomic tools for dairy cattle. We give particular emphasis to infrared spectroscopy of milk because the necessary spectral data are already routinely available on milk samples from individual cows and herds, and therefore the operational cost of implementing such a phenotyping strategy is minimal. The accuracy of predicting milk quality traits from mid-infrared spectroscopy (MIR) analysis of milk, although dependent on the trait under investigation, is particularly promising for differentiating between good and poor-quality dairy products. Many fatty acid concentrations in milk, and in particular saturated fatty acid content, can be very accurately predicted from milk MIR. These results have been confirmed in many international populations. Albeit from only two studied populations investigated in the RobustMilk project, milk MIR analysis also appears to be a reasonable predictor of cow energy balance, a measure of animal robustness; high accuracy of prediction was not expected as the gold standard method of measuring energy balance in those populations was likely to contain error. Because phenotypes predicted from milk MIR are available routinely from milk testing, longitudinal data analyses could be useful to identify animals of superior genetic merit for milk quality and robustness, as well as for monitoring changes in milk quality and robustness because of management, while simultaneously accounting for the genetic merit of the animals. These sources of information can be very valuable input parameters in decision-support tools for both milk producers and processors. [less ▲]

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See detailImplementation in breeding programmes
Coffey, M.P.; McParland, S.; Bastin, Catherine ULg et al

in Advances in Animal Biosciences (2013), 4(3), 626-630

Genetic improvement is easy when selecting for one heritable and well-recorded trait at a time. Many industrialised national dairy herds have overall breeding indices that incorporate a range of traits ... [more ▼]

Genetic improvement is easy when selecting for one heritable and well-recorded trait at a time. Many industrialised national dairy herds have overall breeding indices that incorporate a range of traits balanced by their known or estimated economic value. Future breeding goals will contain more non-production traits and, in the context of this paper, traits associated with human health and cow robustness. The definition of Robustness and the traits used to predict it are currently fluid; however, the use of mid-infrared reflectance spectroscopic analysis of milk will help to create new phenotypes on a large scale that can be used to improve the human health characteristics of milk and the robustness of cows producing it. This paper describes the state-of-the-art in breeding strategies that include animal robustness (mainly energy status) and milk quality (as described by milk fatty acid profile), with particular emphasis on the research results generated by the FP7-funded RobustMilk project [less ▲]

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See detailDevelopment of a genetic evaluation for body condition score for Canadian Holsteins
Loker, S.; Bastin, Catherine ULg; Miglior, F. et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2013), 96

Valacta (Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Québec, Canada) is the Canadian Dairy Herd Improvement organization responsible for milk recording in Québec and Atlantic provinces. Up to 14 first-lactation body ... [more ▼]

Valacta (Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Québec, Canada) is the Canadian Dairy Herd Improvement organization responsible for milk recording in Québec and Atlantic provinces. Up to 14 first-lactation body condition score (BCS) records were collected per cow (average of 2.5 records per cow), allowing the trait to be described by a random regression animal model so that animals could be ranked by the shape of their BCS curve. However, Valacta’s BCS are available from Québec herds only and the long-term objective of this research is to develop a nationwide genetic evaluation of sires and cows for BCS. Alternatively, Holstein Canada (Brantford, Ontario, Canada) collects type trait records nationwide, primarily for first-lactation cows. Holstein Canada typically collects a single record per trait, so that selection for Holstein Canada BCS would be based on overall BCS level rather than the shape of the BCS curve. Several different methods of genetically evaluating Valacta’s BCS were investigated, including consideration of average BCS level across lactation, the amount of fluctuation in the BCS curve during lactation, and combinations of BCS level and BCS fluctuation. Sires with ≥25 daughters were compared (as opposed to comparing cows) because their BCS estimated breeding values (EBV) are based on more information, and so should be more reliable. Of the different methods of calculating Valacta BCS EBV, ranking bulls based on overall BCS level gave the best results in that their daughter phenotypic BCS curves showed limited loss in early lactation BCS and replenished condition by the end of lactation. Whereas Valacta’s BCS were analyzed using a random regression animal model, Holstein Canada only needs to collect 1 BCS record per cow at classification and the resulting BCS EBV was strongly correlated with Valacta’s BCS EBV. Furthermore, because Holstein Canada’s BCS are collected nationally and Valacta’s BCS are not, a national genetic evaluation for Holstein Canada’s BCS is more convenient. The results of this study do not eliminate the possibility of a genetic evaluation of BCS as a longitudinal trait, but indicate that other methods of calculating Valacta BCS EBV should be explored. Until that time, genetically evaluating Holstein Canada’s BCS is simple, easily implemented, and may be effective in altering the level and shape of the genetic BCS curve. [less ▲]

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See detailGenetics of body condition score as an indicator of dairy cattle fertility. A review
Bastin, Catherine ULg; Gengler, Nicolas ULg

in Biotechnologie, Agronomie, Société et Environnement = Biotechnology, Agronomy, Society and Environment [=BASE] (2013), 17(1), 64-75

Body condition score (BCS) is a subjective measure of the amount of metabolizable energy stored in a live animal. Change in BCS of dairy cows is considered to be an indicator of the extent and the ... [more ▼]

Body condition score (BCS) is a subjective measure of the amount of metabolizable energy stored in a live animal. Change in BCS of dairy cows is considered to be an indicator of the extent and the duration of postpartum negative energy balance. Although change in BCS over lactation is lowly heritable, heritability estimates of level of BCS range from 0.20 to 0.50. Also, BCS tends to be more heritable in mid-lactation indicating that genetic differences are more related to how well cows recover from the negative energy balance state. BCS measurements are generally highly correlated within and between lactations. Genetic correlations with BCS are unfavorable for milk, fat, and protein yield, suggesting that genetically superior producers tend to have lower BCS, especially during the lactation. Genetic correlations are generally moderate and favorable with fertility indicating that cows with higher levels of BCS would have a greater chance to conceive after insemination and fewer number of days when not pregnant. Because direct selection to improve fertility might be complicated by several factors, selection for higher levels of BCS, especially in mid-lactation, appears to be a good option to indirectly improve fertility in dairy cows. [less ▲]

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See detailPotential of mid-infrared spectrum of milk to detect changes in the physiological status of dairy cows
Laine, Aurélie ULg; Goubau, Amaury; Hammami, Hedi ULg et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2013)

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See detailGenetics of body energy status of Holstein cows predicted by mid-infrared spectrometry
Bastin, Catherine ULg; Berry, D.; Gengler, Nicolas ULg et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2013), 96(E-Suppl. 1),

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See detailGenetic variability of the mid-infrared prediction of lactoferrin content in milk for Walloon Holstein first-parity cows
Leclercq, Gil ULg; Gengler, Nicolas ULg; Soyeurt, Hélène ULg et al

in Livestock Science (2013), 151(2-3), 158-162

The objective of this study was to assess the genetic variability of the mid-infrared prediction of lactoferrin content in milk (pLF) in Holstein first-parity cows. Variance components were estimated by ... [more ▼]

The objective of this study was to assess the genetic variability of the mid-infrared prediction of lactoferrin content in milk (pLF) in Holstein first-parity cows. Variance components were estimated by Average Information Restricted Maximum Likelihood using a single-trait test-day random regression animal model. The dataset included 395,287 test-day records from 67,178 cows in 1190 herds from the Walloon Region of Belgium. Average pLF was 164.89. mg/L and the standard deviation was 76.07. mg/L. Frequency distribution for pLF was slightly asymmetrical, and pLF seemed to increase almost linearly all along the first lactation after a sharp decrease in early lactation. Genetic variance of pLF increased with days in milk within lactation while the permanent environmental variance was the highest in early lactation, then decreased to become lower than genetic variance at 50 days in milk, and finally increased in the last lactation stages. The pLF was a moderately heritable trait. Daily heritability of pLF was the lowest at 5 days in milk (0.19), then increased to reach a maximum at 260 days in milk (0.44), and finally decreased for the last stages of lactation (0.35 at 365 days in milk). Results from this study indicated that pLF is variable and heritable over the lactation and therefore it could be changed by genetic selection. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. [less ▲]

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See detailCapacité d'ingestion et variation des réserves corporelles chez la vache laitière au cours de la lactation
Beckers, Yves ULg; Bastin, Catherine ULg

Conference given outside the academic context (2012)

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