BackgroundIn recent years, there has been increased interest in the study of the molecular processes that affect semen traits. In this study, our aim was to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) regions associated with four semen traits (motility, progressive motility, number of sperm cells per ejaculate and total morphological defects) in two commercial pig lines (L1: Large White type and L2: Landrace type). Since the number of animals with both phenotypes and genotypes was relatively small in our dataset, we conducted a weighted single-step genome-wide association study, which also allows unequal variances for single nucleotide polymorphisms. In addition, our aim was also to identify candidate genes within QTL regions that explained the highest proportions of genetic variance. Subsequently, we performed gene network analyses to investigate the biological processes shared by genes that were identified for the same semen traits across lines.ResultsWe identified QTL regions that explained up to 10.8% of the genetic variance of the semen traits on 12 chromosomes in L1 and 11 chromosomes in L2. Sixteen QTL regions in L1 and six QTL regions in L2 were associated with two or more traits within the population. Candidate genes SCN8A, PTGS2, PLA2G4A, DNAI2, IQCG and LOC102167830 were identified in L1 and NME5, AZIN2, SPATA7, METTL3 and HPGDS in L2. No regions overlapped between these two lines. However, the gene network analysis for progressive motility revealed two genes in L1 (PLA2G4A and PTGS2) and one gene in L2 (HPGDS) that were involved in two biological processes i.e. eicosanoid biosynthesis and arachidonic acid metabolism. PTGS2 and HPGDS were also involved in the cyclooxygenase pathway.ConclusionsWe identified several QTL regions associated with semen traits in two pig lines, which confirms the assumption of a complex genetic determinism for these traits. A large part of the genetic variance of the semen traits under study was explained by different genes in the two evaluated lines. Nevertheless, the gene network analysis revealed candidate genes that are involved in shared biological pathways that occur in mammalian testes, in both lines.Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article (10.1186/s12711-018-0412-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Linkage disequilibrium (LD) across the genome is critical information for association studies and genomic selection because it determines the number of SNP that should be used for a successful association analysis and genomic selection. Linkage disequilibrium also influences the accuracy of genomic breeding values. Some studies have demonstrated that SNP in strong LD are organized into discrete blocks of haplotypes, which are separated by possibly hot spots of recombination. To reduce the number of markers needed to be genotyped for association mapping, a set of SNP can be selected that labels all haplotype blocks. We estimated the LD, calculated the average haplotype block size for 6 pig lines, and compared the block size between lines. Six commercial pig lines were genotyped using the Illumina PorcineSNP60 (number of markers M = 62,163) Genotyping BeadChip (Illumina Inc.); on average, a panel of 37,623 SNP with an average minor allelic frequency (MAF) of 0.283 was included in the analysis. The LD declined as a function of distance. All pig lines had an average r(2) above 0.3 for markers 100 to 150 apart. The estimated average block size was 394.885 kb, and blocks between 100 and 400 kb were most prominent (49.96%) in all lines. These results showed that the extent of LD in pigs is much larger than in the cattle population, in accordance with the genetic map length of pigs, which is much shorter than cattle. The evaluated lines have 2,640 to 3,037 blocks, covering 45% of the pig genome, on average. Differences in haplotype block size between lines were observed for some chromosomes (i.e., SSC 3, 5, 7, 13, 14, and 18), which provide a direction for future studies of haplotype block conservation or divergence across lines.
ABSTRACT. Frequencies of κ-casein gene alleles were determined in 1316 animals from the Brazilian Bos indicus genetic groups (Sindhi cows, Gyr sires, Gyr cows, Guzerat sires, Guzerat cows, Nellore sires, and Gyr x Holstein crossbreds) by means of polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis using two independent restriction nucleases (Hinf I and HaeIII). The genotyping of κ-casein alleles (A and B) is of practical importance, since the B allele is found to correlate with commercially valuable parameters of cheese yielding efficiency. The frequencies of the B allele of κ-casein among breeds ranged from 0.01 to 0.30. The Sindhi breed had the highest frequency for the B allele (0.30), while the frequencies of this allele in other breeds ranged from 0.01 to 0.18. A wide variation in the B allele frequency among B. indicus breeds was found suggesting that molecular selection for animals carrying the B allele could impact breeding programs for dairy production.
Understanding the genetic architecture of beef cattle growth cannot be limited simply to the genome-wide association study (GWAS) for body weight at any specific ages, but should be extended to a more general purpose by considering the whole growth trajectory over time using a growth curve approach. For such an approach, the parameters that are used to describe growth curves were treated as phenotypes under a GWAS model. Data from 1,255 Brahman cattle that were weighed at birth, 6, 12, 15, 18, and 24 months of age were analyzed. Parameter estimates, such as mature weight (A) and maturity rate (K) from nonlinear models are utilized as substitutes for the original body weights for the GWAS analysis. We chose the best nonlinear model to describe the weight-age data, and the estimated parameters were used as phenotypes in a multi-trait GWAS. Our aims were to identify and characterize associated SNP markers to indicate SNP-derived candidate genes and annotate their function as related to growth processes in beef cattle. The Brody model presented the best goodness of fit, and the heritability values for the parameter estimates for mature weight (A) and maturity rate (K) were 0.23 and 0.32, respectively, proving that these traits can be a feasible alternative when the objective is to change the shape of growth curves within genetic improvement programs. The genetic correlation between A and K was -0.84, indicating that animals with lower mature body weights reached that weight at younger ages. One hundred and sixty seven (167) and two hundred and sixty two (262) significant SNPs were associated with A and K, respectively. The annotated genes closest to the most significant SNPs for A had direct biological functions related to muscle development (RAB28), myogenic induction (BTG1), fetal growth (IL2), and body weights (APEX2); K genes were functionally associated with body weight, body height, average daily gain (TMEM18), and skeletal muscle development (SMN1). Candidate genes emerging from this GWAS may inform the search for causative mutations that could underpin genomic breeding for improved growth rates.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of heat stress and methionine supplementation on the gene expression of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), growth hormone receptor (GHR), phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, and regulatory 1 (PI3KR1) in the liver, as well as the expression of the atrogin 1 and cathepsin L2 (CTSL2) genes in the breast muscle of broilers. Broilers from 1–21 and 22–42 days of age were divided into three treatments related to methionine supplementation as follows: without methionine supplementation (MD), recommended level of methionine (DL1), and excess supplementation of methionine (DL2). The animals were either maintained at a thermal comfort temperature or exposed to heat stress (HS) (38°C for 24 hours, starting on day 20 or day 41 for experiments 1 and 2, respectively). The heat stress increased the body temperature at both ages. Starter period: The HS animals presented increased plasma creatinine content (P<0.0001) and the highest CTSL2 gene expression (P<0.0001). The methionine supplementation increased the IGF-I (P = 0.0144) and GHR (P = 0.0011) gene expression and decreased the CTSL2 (P = 0.0004) and atrogin 1 (P = 0.0012) gene expression. Grower period: Significant effects for the interaction between supplementation and environment were observed for GHR (P = 0.0252) and CTSL2 (P = 0.0011) gene expression. The highest GHR expression was observed in animals that remained in thermal comfort on the DL2 diet, and the lowest expression occurred in the HS animals fed the MD diet. For CTSL2, the HS animals fed the MD diet presented the highest CTSL2 gene expression, and the lowest expression was observed in the animals maintained at thermal comfort on DL1 and DL2 diets. Only methionine supplementation had effect on atrogin-1 gene expression (P<0.0001), with higher methionine content in the diet lower atrogin-1 gene expression was observed. Our results suggest that heat stress induces greater protein degradation and that methionine supplementation could induce protein deposition because methionine increased the expression of genes related to protein synthesis and decreased the expression of genes related to protein breakdown.
Brazilian naturalized goat breeds are adapted to the semiarid conditions prevalent in the Northeast region of the country (which has the largest Brazilian goat heard) and represent an as yet uninvestigated source of genetic diversity. Currently, imported goat breeds are crossed with Brazilian naturalized goat breeds, endangering the genetic potential of the naturalized breeds. We used 11 microsatellite markers to determine the genetic diversity among imported (non-naturalized) dairy Alpine and Saanen goats and naturalized Brazilian Moxotó goats. We genotyped 292 goats from three herds (one private, one from the University of Minas Gerais and the Moxotó conservation herd from Embrapa Caprinos) and found that the general heterozygosity was 0.6952 for Alpine, 0.7043 for Saanen and 0.4984 for Moxotó goats. The number of alleles ranged from 5 (INRA005) to 11 (BM3205), with an average of 7 alleles per locus in the imported breeds and 3.5 alleles per locus in the Moxotó breed. Mean differentiation between populations was higher for herds (F ST S = 0.0768) than for breeds (F ST P = 0.0263), indicating similarity between the imported breeds and the existence of crosses between them. Nei's genetic distance was highest between the Moxotó breed and the imported breeds. These indicate that further studies using these molecular markers would be fruitful.
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