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Implications of Gene Inheritance Patterns on the Heterosis of Abdominal Fat Deposition in Chickens

by Chunning Mai 1,2, Chaoliang Wen 1,2, Congjiao Sun 1,2, Zhiyuan Xu 1,2, Sirui Chen 1,2 and Ning Yang 1,2,*
1
Department of Animal Genetics and Breeding, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
2
National Engineering Laboratory for Animal Breeding, and Key Laboratory of Animal Genetics, Breeding and Reproduction, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2019, 10(10), 824; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes10100824
Received: 6 September 2019 / Revised: 5 October 2019 / Accepted: 17 October 2019 / Published: 18 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
Heterosis, a phenomenon characterized by the superior performance of hybrid individuals relative to their parents, has been widely utilized in livestock and crop breeding, while the underlying genetic basis remains elusive in chickens. Here, we performed a reciprocal crossing experiment with broiler and layer chickens and conducted RNA sequencing on liver tissues for reciprocal crosses and their parental lines to identify inheritance patterns of gene expression. Our results showed that heterosis of the abdominal fat percentage was 69.28%–154.71% in reciprocal crosses. Over-dominant genes of reciprocal crosses were significantly enriched in three biological pathways, namely, butanoate metabolism, the synthesis and degradation of ketone bodies, and valine, leucine, and isoleucine degradation. Among these shared over-dominant genes, we found that a lipid-related gene, HMGCL, was enriched in these pathways. Furthermore, we validated this gene as over-dominant using qRT-PCR. Although no shared significant pathway was detected in the high-parent dominant genes of reciprocal crosses, high-parent dominant gene expression was the major gene inheritance pattern in reciprocal crosses and we could not exclude the effect of high-parent dominant genes. These findings suggest that non-additive genes play important roles in the heterosis of important traits in chickens and have important implications regarding our understanding of heterosis. View Full-Text
Keywords: heterosis; abdominal fat deposition; gene expression patterns; over-dominant genes; high-parent dominant genes; chicken heterosis; abdominal fat deposition; gene expression patterns; over-dominant genes; high-parent dominant genes; chicken
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Mai, C.; Wen, C.; Sun, C.; Xu, Z.; Chen, S.; Yang, N. Implications of Gene Inheritance Patterns on the Heterosis of Abdominal Fat Deposition in Chickens. Genes 2019, 10, 824.

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