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Britt Berglund

Britt Berglund
Professor in applied animal genetics. My research is mainly on the use of genetic variation in traits important for a sustainable breeding programme.


I am specialized in dairy cattle and do research and teaching in most important traits for the cow. One focus is the genetic background to reproduction- and health traits and new phenotypic measurements for the traits.


I am involved in teaching in the basic education of students in the Veterinary Medicine programme where I am course responsible for the part course in Animal genetics within the Population Medicine course, and contact person for the Master Thesis degree project in veterinary medicine performed at our department. Moreover, I am involved in the basic education for animal science students in the course Animalieproduktion – idisslare.


How much of dairy cows’ pregnancy losses can be explained by different genetic defects?

The project aims to use the information about the cow's DNA profile to estimate how large fertility problems the most common genetic defects of SRB and Holstein causes. We will link the losses to their severity for the reproduction results and estimate the economic impact of the pregnancy losses. Our goal is that the increased knowledge of known genetic defects should provide a more reliable basis for avoiding matings between carriers, as well as to eventually enable a selection to the underlying lethal genes that can be applied in practical genetic evaluation and thus strengthen the dairy industry's competitiveness and sustainability. The project is an in-depth study within the SLF-funded Swedish part of the Nordic fertility project. We are working with in-line recordings of milk progesterone and the pregnancy associated glycoprotein PAG together with information from genotype data. Patricia Ask-Gullstrand is PhD-student within this project.

Prolific (Pluridisciplinary study for a RObust and sustainabLe Improvement of the Fertility In Cows)

An EU project (FP7-KBBE-2012, 311776) with participants from 13 organizations in 8 countries. The overall aim of PROLIFIC is to integrate the information at herd and at cow level to understand, predict and find solutions to improve dairy cow fertility for a robust cow of the future. I am/has been supervisor for two PhD students within this project:  Effects of diet on phenotypic responses and molecular mechanisms in reproductive tissues - Theodoros Ntallaris, and Genetics of fertility in cattle with whole genome genotypes imputed from sires sequence information. – Amabel Tenghe (PhD dissertation 2017-04-28).

Feed efficient cows

In the Nordic project Feed Utilization in Nordic Cattle (FUNC) our aim is to improve feed efficiency (FE) by breeding, feeding and management. A proper definition of FE will be developed together with correlated proxy traits measurable in large scale at reasonable costs. New tools to consider FE for a more efficient milk production with reduced environmental impact will be developed for use in a sustainable dairy production. The project has several part goals. The Swedish part is financed e.g. by SLF (V1230028). One of my PhD students studies Genomic and phenotypic indicators of feed efficiency. – Bingjie Li (PhD dissertation 2018-04-28).

Genetic and management aspects on oestrus expression in dairy cows

The aim of this SLF financed project (V0730301, V1130050) is to study which heat signs are the best to record heat expression ability in today's high producing cow and how these measures can be used as a management tool and as a breeding tool to genetically improve the heat expression ability and thereby the fertility of dairy cows. Sofia Nyman (PhD dissertation 2018-05-18).

Improved breeding for fertility in Nordic dairy cows by using new recordings and novel traits

The use of automated recording systems within the milk production is increasing. These have mainly been developed as management tools, but could potentially also be used as breeding tools. This project is part of the Nordic 4-year project Improving Nordic dairy cow fertility through genetics. The Swedish part is financed by SLF (O-15-20-587), and our focus area is to investigate how we best can use automated recordings to improve the genetic evaluation for fertility, such as return to normal cyclicity after calving, association to oestrus intensity and ability to remain pregnant.  Records are from activity tags, milk progesterone, milk composition, and the pregnancy protein PAG. Our hypothesis is that traits we can define from these new data have sufficient good quality to be used in the routine genetic evaluation which may increase herd profitability. A post-doc Getinet M. Tarekegn is working in this project together with the project leaders.

Genetic and genomic variation in fertility measures of dairy cows

In this project the genetic variation in new phenotypic measures based on endocrine levels in the dairy cow are studied, such as progesterone profiles post partum and their genetic relationship with the pregnancy result. The goal is to improve the genetic evaluation for fertility. PhD student on this project is Sofia Nyman (PhD dissertation 2018-05-18).


  • Master of Science in Agriculture (Agronom), SLU, 1978
  • PhD in Animal Breeding (AgrD), SLU, 1988
  • Associate professor (Docent), SLU, 2000
  • Professor in Animal Breeding and Genetics, SLU, 2010

Selected publications

Nyman, S., Duchemin, S., de Koning, D.J. & Berglund, B. 2019. Genome-wide association study for normal and atypical progesterone profiles in Holstein-Friesian dairy cows.  J. Dairy Sci. 102:3204-3215.

Tarekegn GM, P. Gullstrand, E. Strandberg, R. Båge, E. Rius-Vilarrasa, JM. Christensen, B. Berglund. 2019. Genetic parameters of endocrine fertility traits based on in-line milk progesterone profiles in Swedish Red and Holstein dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 102:11207-11216.

B. Li, W. F. Fikse, P. Løvendahl, J. Lassen, M.H. Lidauer, P. Mäntysaari  & B. Berglund. 2018. Genetic parameters for feed intake, energy corrected milk, and body weight across lactation in primiparous Holstein, Nordic Red, and Jersey cows. Journal of Dairy Science, 101 (11), 10011-10021.

Nyman S., H. Gustafsson & B. Berglund. 2018. Extent and pattern of pregnancy losses and progesterone levels during gestation in Swedish Red and Swedish Holstein dairy cows. Acta Vet. Scand.  60:68

Tenghe A. M. M., A. C. Bouwman, B. Berglund, DJ de Koning & R. F. Veerkamp. 2018. Improving accuracy of bulls’ predicted genomic breeding values for fertility using daughters’ milk progesterone profiles.  J. Dairy Sci. 101:5177-5193.

Ntallaris T., P Humblot, R Båge, Y Sjunnesson, J Dupont & B. Berglund. 2017. Effect of energy balance profiles on metabolic and reproductive response in Holstein and Swedish Red cows. Theriogenology 90:276–283.

Nyman S., S. Malm, H. Gustafsson & B. Berglund. 2017. A longitudinal study of oestrous characteristics and conception in tie-stalled and loose-housed Swedish dairy cows. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section A — Animal Science, 66:135-144.

Tenghe A. M. M., A.C. Bouwman, B. Berglund, E. Strandberg, DJ de Koning & R. F. Veerkamp. 2016. Genome-wide association study for endocrine fertility traits using single nucleotide polymorphism arrays and sequence variants in dairy cattle. J. Dairy Sci. 99:5470–5485.

Tenghe A. M. M., B. Berglund, E. Wall, R. F. Veerkamp & DJ de Koning. 2016. Opportunities for genomic prediction for fertility using endocrine and classical fertility traits in dairy cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 94:3645-3654.

Berry, D.P., Bastiaansen, J.W.M., Veerkamp, R.F., Wijga, S., Wall, E., Berglund, B. & Calus, M.P.L. 2012. Genome-wide associations for fertility traits in Holstein-Friesian dairy cows using data from experimental research herds in four European countries. Animal, 6:8, pp 1206-1215.

Berglund, B. 2008. Genetic improvement of dairy cow reproductive performance. Reprod. Dom. Anim. 43 (Suppl. 2), 89-95

Full publication record on Google Scholar


Publications list: