University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign logo
research Functional Genomics Comparative Genomics QTL Mapping Livestock Genome Sequencing Initiative


The Dairy Bull DNA Repository (DBDR) is a collection of dairy bull semen and DNA to be used for the purpose of mapping quantitative trait loci in dairy cattle using the granddaughter design. Currently, the DBDR and its allied databases are maintained at the Laboratory of Immunogenetics, Department of Animal Sciences, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As of August 1995, nine North American AI organizations have contributed a total of 65,743 semen samples from 3,366 bulls to the DBDR. Semen samples for 35 grandsires and 4,705 of their sons were originally requested for the DBDR in 1990, and semen samples from 1,910 of these sons have been received. Of the 35 grandsires, 17 currently have more than 40 sons with semen in the collection. The DBDR will have private and public databases. The private database will be available only to DBDR contributors and collaborators. The public databases will include new data from published papers and a QTL map. A formal legal document, the Memorandum of Understanding , which includes a Collaborator Agreement , was developed by the University of Illinois in 1993 and was sent to all potential contributors of semen and interested research collaborators. In 1995, terms governing the use of DBDR semen samples were defined in a document titled Description of the Panel and Guidelines for Use . These guidelines were approved by the DBDR Steering Committee and members of the USDA Regional Project NC-209. The current DBDR Steering Committee consists of H. Lewin (chair), University of Illinois; H. C. Hines, Ohio State University; P. vanRaden, USDA-Agricultural Research Service; C. Sattler, National Association of Animal Breeders; ex officio : J. E. Womack, Texas A&M University, and J. I. Weller, Agricultural Research Organization, Israel. The specific objectives of this project were:

1) to identify and characterize genes and gene products that influence reproduction, disease resistance, milk and meat production efficiency, composition and quality;

2) to develop methods for statistical mapping and characterization of ecomomic trait loci using granddaughter, daughter, and other designs;

3) to develop methods to use molecular markers for quantitiative traits in applied breeding programs.


Detection of quantitative trait loci influencing conformation traits and calving ease in Holstein-Friesian cattle. Ashwell M. S., D.W. Heyen, J.I. Weller, M. Ron, T.S. Sonstegard, C.P. Van Tassell and H.A. Lewin. 2005. Journal of Dairy Science 88:4111-4119.

Detection of quantitative trait loci affecting female fertility and milk production in ten Dairy Bull DNA Repository families. Ashwell M.S., D.W. Heyen, T.S. Sonstergard, C.P. Van Tassell, Y. Da, P.M. Van Raden and H.A. Lewin. 2003. Journal of Dairy Science 87:468-475.

Detection of quantitative trait loci influencing dairy traits using a model for Longitudinal data. Rodriguez-Zas S.L., B.R. Southey, D.W. Heyen and H.A. Lewin. 2002. Journal of Dairy Science 85:2681-2691.

Interval and composite interval mapping of somatic cell score, milk yield and components in dairy cattle. Rodriguez-Zas S.L., B.R. Southey, D.W. Heyen and H.A. Lewin. 2002. Journal of Dairy Science 85:3081-3091.

A genome scan for quantitative trait loci affecting milk production and health traits in dairy cattle. Heyen D.W., J.I. Weller, M. Ron, M. Band, J.E. Beever, E. Feldmesser, Y. Da, G.R. Wiggans, P.M. VanRaden and H.A. Lewin. 1999. Physiological Genomics 1:165-175.

  Laboratory of Mammalian Genome Biology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
206 Edward R. Madigan Laboratory 
1201 West Gregory Drive 
Urbana, IL 61801

Phone 217-244-6745