Sources of bias in genetic association studies of cattle: a review


  • José L. Zepeda Batista Chapingo Autonomous University
  • María I. Carrillo Díaz University of Colima
  • Luis A. Saavedra Jiménez Chapingo Autonomous University



association estimates, genetic bias, genetic improvement, sampling-related bias, statistical bias


Background: Genetic association studies have been increasingly used in cattle breeding programs. However, inconsistent results -such as positive, negative, or absence of association- across studies restrain reproducibility and proper implementation, propitiating the occurrence of bias. Objective: To identify and classify potential sources of bias and determine possible strategies to avoid it in genetic association studies in cattle. Source of bias in genetic association studies: Genetic and genomic sources of bias include effects associated with the gene loci governing expression. Sampling-related and statistical biases are related with factors such as stratification and database size. Strategies to correct bias in genetic association studies: Correction strategies differ in nature. Genetic and genomic strategies are based on determining the appropriate approach to obtain and report the genetic information. Sampling-related and statistical strategies are based on grouping individuals with certain traits that lead to a reduction in heterogeneity. Conclusion: It is necessary to consider the methodology used in previous studies to establish a hierarchy of sources of bias and facilitate decisions on the use of tools to reduce inconsistencies in the results of future studies.

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Author Biographies

José L. Zepeda Batista, Chapingo Autonomous University

VMZ, MSc., Postgraduate in Animal Production, Chapingo Autonomous University, Chapingo, State of Mexico, Mexico.

María I. Carrillo Díaz, University of Colima

IAZ, PhD., Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnics, University of Colima, Tecomán, Colima, Mexico.

Luis A. Saavedra Jiménez, Chapingo Autonomous University

IAZ, MSc., Postgraduate in Animal Production, Universidad Autónoma Chapingo, Chapingo, State of Mexico, México.


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How to Cite

Zepeda Batista, J. L., Carrillo Díaz, M. I., & Saavedra Jiménez, L. A. (2018). Sources of bias in genetic association studies of cattle: a review. Revista Colombiana De Ciencias Pecuarias, 31(4), 256–266.



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