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Open AccessArticle

The Mean Staple Length of Wool Fibre Is Associated with Variation in the Ovine Keratin-Associated Protein 21-2 Gene

Faculty of Animal Science and Technology, Gansu Key Laboratory of Herbivorous Animal Biotechnology, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou 730070, China
International Wool Research Institute, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou 730070, China
Gene-marker Laboratory, Faculty of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Lincoln University, Lincoln 7647, New Zealand
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2020, 11(2), 148;
Received: 28 November 2019 / Revised: 20 January 2020 / Accepted: 24 January 2020 / Published: 30 January 2020
Wool and hair fibres consist of a variety of proteins, including the keratin-associated proteins (KAPs). In this study, a putative ovine homologue of the human KAP21-2 gene (KRTAP21-2) was identified. It was located on chromosome 1 as a 201-bp open reading frame (ORF) in the ovine genome assembly from a Texel sheep (v.4 NC_019458.2: nt122932727 to 122932927). A polymerase chain reaction- single strand conformation polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) analysis of this ORF, and subsequent DNA sequencing, identified five sequences (named A-E). The putative amino acid sequences that would be produced, shared some identity with each other and with other KAPs, but they were most similar to ovine KAP21-1, and phylogenetically related to human KAP21-2. The location of the ovine KRTAP21-2 sequence was consistent with the location of human KRTAP21-2, and this suggests they represent different variant forms of ovine KRTAP21-2. Variation in this gene was investigated in 389 Merino (sire) × Southdown-cross (ewe) lambs. These were derived from four independent sire-lines. The sequence variation was found to be associated with variation in five wool traits: including mean staple length (MSL), mean fibre diameter (MFD), fibre diameter standard deviation (FDSD), prickle factor (PF), and greasy fleece weight (GFW). The most persistent effect of KRTAP21-2 variation was with variation in MSL; with the MSL of sheep of genotype AC being 12.5% greater than those of genotype CE. A similar effect was observed from individual variant absence/presence models. This suggests that KRTAP21-2 should be further investigated as a possible gene-marker for improving MSL.
Keywords: KAP21-2 gene (KRTAP21-2); mean staple length; wool traits; sheep KAP21-2 gene (KRTAP21-2); mean staple length; wool traits; sheep
MDPI and ACS Style

Li, S.; Zhou, H.; Gong, H.; Zhao, F.; Wang, J.; Liu, X.; Hu, J.; Luo, Y.; Hickford, J.G. The Mean Staple Length of Wool Fibre Is Associated with Variation in the Ovine Keratin-Associated Protein 21-2 Gene. Genes 2020, 11, 148.

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