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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Gene Networks Driving Genetic Variation in Milk and Cheese-Making Traits of Spanish Assaf Sheep

1
Departamento de Producción Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de León, Campus de Vegazana s/n, 24071 León, Spain
2
CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Queensland Bioscience Precinct, 306 Carmody Rd., St Lucia, Brisbane, Queensland 4067, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2020, 11(7), 715; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11070715
Received: 8 June 2020 / Revised: 22 June 2020 / Accepted: 25 June 2020 / Published: 27 June 2020
Most of the milk produced by sheep is used for the production of high-quality cheese. Consequently, traits related to milk coagulation properties and cheese yield are economically important to the Spanish dairy industry. The present study aims to identify candidate genes and their regulators related to 14 milk and cheese-making traits and to develop a low-density panel of markers that could be used to predict an individual’s genetic potential for cheese-making efficiency. In this study, we performed a combination of the classical genome-wide association study (GWAS) with a stepwise regression method and a pleiotropy analysis to determine the best combination of the variants located within the confidence intervals of the potential candidate genes that may explain the greatest genetic variance for milk and cheese-making traits. Two gene networks related to milk and cheese-making traits were created using the genomic relationship matrices built through a stepwise multiple regression approach. Several co-associated genes in these networks are involved in biological processes previously found to be associated with milk synthesis and cheese-making efficiency. The methodology applied in this study enabled the selection of a co-association network comprised of 374 variants located in the surrounding of genes showing a potential influence on milk synthesis and cheese-making efficiency. View Full-Text
Keywords: dairy sheep; milk coagulation properties; meta-analysis; GWAS; stepwise analysis; pleiotropy; linkage disequilibrium dairy sheep; milk coagulation properties; meta-analysis; GWAS; stepwise analysis; pleiotropy; linkage disequilibrium
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Marina, H.; Reverter, A.; Gutiérrez-Gil, B.; Alexandre, P.A.; Porto-Neto, L.R.; Suárez-Vega, A.; Li, Y.; Esteban-Blanco, C.; Arranz, J.-J. Gene Networks Driving Genetic Variation in Milk and Cheese-Making Traits of Spanish Assaf Sheep. Genes 2020, 11, 715.

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