Topical Collection "Applications of Quantitative Genetics in Livestock Production"

A topical collection in Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This collection belongs to the section "Animal Genetics and Genomics".

Editor

Prof. Michael E. Davis
Website
Collection Editor
Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
Interests: Beef; Dairy; Genetics; Genetic Engineering; Animal Breeding; Biostatistics; Animal Genetics

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

The genetic improvement of livestock in the last 100 years has been remarkable. Most of this genetic change has been due to the application of quantitative genetics. During the 1920s and 1930s, population genetics came of age as the leaders in the field sought to describe genes and chromosomes. Following World War II, J. L. Lush, L. N. Hazel, and others developed the concepts of selection indices and breeding values. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, computing technology advanced to the point where breed associations were able to be generated across herd genetic evaluations using the selection index theory and the mixed model equations first suggested by C. R. Henderson. In the 1980s, BLUP the methodology and reduced animal model were developed, thus allowing for the estimation of expected progeny differences and predicting the transmitting abilities within the breeds of livestock. Another major event in the 1980s was the launch of the genomics era. The genomes of many livestock species have been sequenced, and a large number of evenly spaced genetic markers have been identified. The availability of marker panels of thousands of SNPs, along with new computing technologies, such as a single-step approach to incorporating genomic information into EPDs, have made genomic selection a reality, and have greatly increased the accuracy of selection, even for young animals and for difficult to measure traits such as disease resistance, longevity, and feed efficiency. Much has been accomplished, but much work remains for quantitative geneticists who work with livestock. The commercial genotyping of livestock has been accomplished for millions of animals. Therefore, vast amounts of genomic data remain to be mined. Much remains to be learned concerning the genetic architecture of complex traits and how this knowledge can be applied to livestock production.

Prof. Michael E. Davis
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • population genetics
  • animal breeding
  • quantitative genetics
  • heritability
  • genetic variation
  • gene frequency
  • selection
  • mating systems
  • genetic improvement
  • breeding value.

Published Papers (45 papers)

2020

Jump to: 2019

Open AccessArticle
Accuracies of Genomic Prediction for Growth Traits at Weaning and Yearling Ages in Yak
Animals 2020, 10(10), 1793; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101793 - 02 Oct 2020
Abstract
Genomic selection is a promising breeding strategy that has been used in considerable numbers of breeding projects due to its highly accurate results. Yak are rare mammals that are remarkable because of their ability to survive in the extreme and harsh conditions predominantly [...] Read more.
Genomic selection is a promising breeding strategy that has been used in considerable numbers of breeding projects due to its highly accurate results. Yak are rare mammals that are remarkable because of their ability to survive in the extreme and harsh conditions predominantly at the so-called “roof of the world”—the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau. In the current study, we conducted an exploration of the feasibility of genomic evaluation and compared the predictive accuracy of early growth traits with five different approaches. In total, four growth traits were measured in 354 yaks, including body weight, withers height, body length, and chest girth in two early stages of development (weaning and yearling). Genotyping was implemented using the Illumina BovineHD BeadChip. The predictive accuracy was calculated through five-fold cross-validation in five classical statistical methods including genomic best linear unbiased prediction (GBLUP) and four Bayesian methods. Body weights at 30 months in the same yak population were also measured to evaluate the prediction at 6 months. The results indicated that the predictive accuracy for the early growth traits of yak ranged from 0.147 to 0.391. Similar performance was found for the GBLUP and Bayesian methods for most growth traits. Among the Bayesian methods, Bayes B outperformed Bayes A in the majority of traits. The average correlation coefficient between the prediction at 6 months using different methods and observations at 30 months was 0.4. These results indicate that genomic prediction is feasible for early growth traits in yak. Considering that genomic selection is necessary in yak breeding projects, the present study provides promising reference for future applications. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Analysis of Transcriptome and miRNAome in the Muscle of Bamei Pigs at Different Developmental Stages
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1198; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071198 - 15 Jul 2020
Abstract
The growth of skeletal muscle involves complex developmental processes that play an important part in the determinization of pork quality. The investigation of skeletal muscle mRNA or miRNA profiles is especially important for finding molecular approaches to improve meat quality in pig breeding. [...] Read more.
The growth of skeletal muscle involves complex developmental processes that play an important part in the determinization of pork quality. The investigation of skeletal muscle mRNA or miRNA profiles is especially important for finding molecular approaches to improve meat quality in pig breeding. Therefore, we studied the transcriptome (mRNA and miRNA) profiles of skeletal muscle with RNA-Seq in three developmental stages of pigs: 65-day embryonic (E65), postnatal 0 days (natal) and 10 months (adult). We found 10,035, 9050 and 4841 differentially expressed (DE) genes for natal vs. E65, adult vs. E65 and adult vs. natal, 55, 101 and 85 DE miRNA for natal vs. E65, adult vs. E65 and adult vs. natal, respectively. In addition, the target genes of DE miRNA that was in a negative correlation with the corresponding miRNA in the same comparison group were selected for enrichment analysis. Gene Ontology terms were mainly classified into developmental processes. Pathway analysis revealed enrichment in the Rap1 signaling pathway, citrate cycle and oxidative phosphorylation and carbon. Finally, RT-PCR was employed for validating the level of expression of 11 DE miRNA and 14 DEGs. The transcriptome profiles of skeletal muscle from the different developmental stages of the Bamei pigs were obtained. From these data, hundreds of DE miRNA and mRNA, and the miRNA–mRNA regulatory network can provide valuable insights into further understanding of key molecular mechanisms and improving the meat quality in pig breeding. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Heat-Shock Proteins Gene Expression in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells as an Indicator of Heat Stress in Beef Calves
Animals 2020, 10(5), 895; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050895 - 21 May 2020
Abstract
This study was conducted to investigate the effect of HS on HSPs gene expression in bovine PBMCs of beef calves in in vitro and in vivo models. In the in vitro experiment, blood samples were collected from the jugular vein of five beef [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to investigate the effect of HS on HSPs gene expression in bovine PBMCs of beef calves in in vitro and in vivo models. In the in vitro experiment, blood samples were collected from the jugular vein of five beef calves (age: 174.2 ± 5.20 days, BW: 145.2 ± 5.21 kg). In the in vivo experiment, sixteen Korean native male beef calves (age: 169.6 ± 4.60 days, BW: 136.9 ± 6.23 kg) were exposed to ambient temperature for seven days (22 to 24 °C, relative humidity 60%; temperature–humidity index (THI) = 68 to 70) and subsequently to the temperature and humidity corresponding to the target THI level for 21 days (HS). For PBMC isolation, blood samples were collected every three days. In the in vitro model, the cell viability was significantly decreased in HS groups compared with the control group (p = 0.015). The expression of HSP70 (p = 0.022), HSP90 (p = 0.003) and HSPB1 (p = 0.026) genes was increased in the HS group in in vitro model. In the in vivo experiment, the HSP70 gene expression was increased after sudden exposure to HS conditions (severe THI levels; THI = 88 to 90), whereas HSP90 and HSPB1 showed no differences among the THI groups (p > 0.05). However, in the severe THI group, the HSP70 gene expression returned to normal range after six days of continuous HS. In conclusion, the HSP70 gene plays a pivotal role in protecting cells from damage and is sensitive to HS in immune cells compared with other HSP genes in in vitro and in vivo models. In addition, the in vivo models suggest that calves exhibit active physiological mechanisms of adaptation to HS after six days of continuous exposure by regulating the HSP70 gene expression. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Use of the HRM Method in Quick Identification of FecXO Mutation in Highly Prolific Olkuska Sheep
Animals 2020, 10(5), 844; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050844 - 14 May 2020
Abstract
Olkuska is a highly prolific sheep breed in Poland. Thanks to earlier identification of the genetic basis of its prolificacy, a mutation in the BMP-15 gene, we can use molecular biology tools to identify this causative mutation affecting prolificacy. In our research, we [...] Read more.
Olkuska is a highly prolific sheep breed in Poland. Thanks to earlier identification of the genetic basis of its prolificacy, a mutation in the BMP-15 gene, we can use molecular biology tools to identify this causative mutation affecting prolificacy. In our research, we used the High-Resolution Melting (HRM) and Sanger sequencing methods to identify the genotypes of the studied animals. The result obtained by the HRM method is identical to those obtained by the sequencing method, which confirms the effectiveness of the HRM method and the possibility of quick and cheap identification of individuals with a FecXO mutation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Validation of Suitable Reference Genes for Gene Expression Studies on Yak Testis Development
Animals 2020, 10(2), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10020182 - 21 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Testis has an important function in male reproduction. Its development is regulated by a large number of genes. The real-time reserve transcriptase-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) is a useful tool to evaluate the gene expression levels. However, unsuitable reference genes (RGs) can cause [...] Read more.
Testis has an important function in male reproduction. Its development is regulated by a large number of genes. The real-time reserve transcriptase-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) is a useful tool to evaluate the gene expression levels. However, unsuitable reference genes (RGs) can cause the misinterpretation of gene expression levels. Unfortunately, the ideal RGs for yak testis development are yet to be studied. In this study, 13 commonly used RGs were selected to identify the most stable RGs in yak testis at four different developmental stages, including two immature stages (6 months and 18 months) and two mature stages (30 months and 6 years). This study used GeNorm, NormFinder, BestKeeper, ∆Ct, and RefFinder programs to evaluate the stability of 13 candidate genes. The results of RefFinder showed that the stabilities of TATA box-binding protein (TBP) and ubiquitously expressed transcript protein (UXT) were ranked the top two across all developmental stages. TBP and hydroxymethylbilane synthase (HMBS) were stably expressed in immature stages, while mitochondrial ribosomal protein L39 (MRPL39) and TBP had higher stability than other candidate genes in mature stages. This study provided valuable information for gene expression studies to assist further investigation on the molecular mechanisms in underlying yak testis development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of SCD, ACACA and FASN Mutations: Effects on Pork Quality and Other Production Traits in Pigs Selected Based on RNA-Seq Results
Animals 2020, 10(1), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010123 - 12 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
In recent years, pig producers have struggled with the problem of low intramuscular fat levels in pork, which impacts palatability and ultimately meat quality. Reduced levels of intramuscular fat are likely the result of breeding objectives aimed at increasing lean meat content. In [...] Read more.
In recent years, pig producers have struggled with the problem of low intramuscular fat levels in pork, which impacts palatability and ultimately meat quality. Reduced levels of intramuscular fat are likely the result of breeding objectives aimed at increasing lean meat content. In this study, three mutations within candidate genes for fat content (SCD, ACACA, and FASN) were selected, based on RNA-seq results and the relationship between polymorphisms in genes related to lipid metabolism, fattening and slaughter characteristics, as well as pork quality, including IMF level, were evaluated to identify selection markers. Moreover, their impact on gene expression was also examined. The PCR–RFLP (polymerase cha- in reaction – restriction fragments length) method was used to establish genotypes and effect sizes of potential genetic markers were estimated using a GLM model. It was identified that a FASN missense variant was positively associated with the expression level of this gene, which suggested its linkage with a mutation having a regulatory function. The association study indicated that the FASN missense variant may play a role in the determination of feed conversion and meat colour. In turn, a mutation in the ACACA gene showed a relationship with IMF content in the Puławska breed where the differences reached as much as 20%. We suggest considering all three mutations in further studies based on different pig populations due to the crucial role of SCD, ACACA, and FASN genes in lipid metabolism. Full article
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2019

Jump to: 2020

Open AccessReview
Review on Genomic Regions and Candidate Genes Associated with Economically Important Production and Reproduction Traits in Sheep (Ovies aries)
Animals 2020, 10(1), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010033 - 23 Dec 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Sheep (Ovis aries) is one of the most economically, culturally, and socially important domestic animals. They are reared primarily for meat, milk, wool, and fur production. Sheep were reared using natural selection for a long period of time to offer these [...] Read more.
Sheep (Ovis aries) is one of the most economically, culturally, and socially important domestic animals. They are reared primarily for meat, milk, wool, and fur production. Sheep were reared using natural selection for a long period of time to offer these traits. In fact, this production system has been slowing the productivity and production potential of the sheep. To improve production efficiency and productivity of this animal through genetic improvement technologies, understanding the genetic background of traits such as body growth, weight, carcass quality, fat percent, fertility, milk yield, wool quality, horn type, and coat color is essential. With the development and utilization of animal genotyping technologies and gene identification methods, many functional genes and genetic variants associated with economically important phenotypic traits have been identified and annotated. This is useful and presented an opportunity to increase the pace of animal genetic gain. Quantitative trait loci and genome wide association study have been playing an important role in identifying candidate genes and animal characterization. This review provides comprehensive information on the identified genomic regions and candidate genes associated with production and reproduction traits, and gene function in sheep. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Polymorphism of the Myostatin (MSTN) Gene in Landes and Kielecka Geese Breeds
Animals 2020, 10(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010010 - 19 Dec 2019
Abstract
Myostatin, also known as growth differentiation factor 8 (GDF8), belongs to the TGF- β superfamily of proteins. MSTN is a highly conserved protein that acts as a negative regulator of skeletal muscle growth. Loss of myostatin functionality causes the phenotype to appear in [...] Read more.
Myostatin, also known as growth differentiation factor 8 (GDF8), belongs to the TGF- β superfamily of proteins. MSTN is a highly conserved protein that acts as a negative regulator of skeletal muscle growth. Loss of myostatin functionality causes the phenotype to appear in the form of ‘double musculature’, among others in cattle, sheep, and house mice. The presented results of the research were carried out on two geese breeds—Landes and Kielecka. The aim of the study was to identify mutations in the MSTN gene and study their impact on body weight in both geese breeds in different periods of life. Analysis of the obtained results showed the existence of polymorphism in exon 3 (c.1231C>T) and suggested a possible association (p < 0.05) between BW and genotype in 12 weeks of life in male Kielecka geese breed. The identified polymorphism may be one of the factors important for improving body weight in the studied Kielecka breed, therefore, it is necessary to conduct further research on a larger population of geese breeds in order to more accurately estimate the effect of the identified SNP c.1231C>T on BW in geese. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Estimation of the Genetic Parameters for Semen Traits in Spanish Dairy Sheep
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1147; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121147 - 13 Dec 2019
Abstract
This work aimed to estimate genetic parameters for traits related to semen production and quality in Spanish dairy sheep breeds. For that, ejaculates of rams from Assaf, Churra, Latxa Cara Negra, Latxa Cara Rubia, and Manchega breeds were analyzed to measure volume, semen [...] Read more.
This work aimed to estimate genetic parameters for traits related to semen production and quality in Spanish dairy sheep breeds. For that, ejaculates of rams from Assaf, Churra, Latxa Cara Negra, Latxa Cara Rubia, and Manchega breeds were analyzed to measure volume, semen concentration, and motility. Estimates of variance components were obtained with multiple-trait animal models using the average information REML method in the BLUPF90 family of programs. Repeatability estimates for all the traits were also calculated, with values ranging from 0.077 to 0.304 for the motility and the semen concentration traits, respectively. Heritability estimates were of low to moderate magnitude, ranging from 0.014 (motility in Latxa Cara Rubia) to 0.198 (volume in Churra), although the estimates differed among the breeds. The estimated genetic correlations among the three semen traits showed adequate precision only in the MAN breed. The heritability estimates for the semen traits reported in the present paper suggest an adequate response to selection. The practical extension of these results to the other breeds studied here will be secondary to the estimation of more reliable genetic correlations in these breeds. Full article
Open AccessArticle
RNA-Seq Analysis Identifies Differentially Expressed Genes in Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue in Qaidaford Cattle, Cattle-Yak, and Angus Cattle
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1077; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121077 - 03 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
In the beef industry, fat tissue is closely related to meat quality. In this study, high-throughput RNA sequencing was utilized for adipose tissue transcriptome analysis between cattle-yak, Qaidamford cattle, and Angus cattle. The screening and identification of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between different [...] Read more.
In the beef industry, fat tissue is closely related to meat quality. In this study, high-throughput RNA sequencing was utilized for adipose tissue transcriptome analysis between cattle-yak, Qaidamford cattle, and Angus cattle. The screening and identification of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between different breeds of cattle would facilitate cattle breeding. Compared to Angus cattle adipose tissue, a total of 4167 DEGs were identified in cattle-yak adipose tissue and 3269 DEGs were identified in Qaidamford cattle adipose tissue. Considering cattle-yak as a control group, 154 DEGs were identified in Qaidamford cattle adipose tissue. GO analysis indicated the significant enrichment of some DEGs related to lipid metabolism. The KEGG pathway database was also used to map DEGs and revealed that most annotated genes were involved in ECM-receptor interaction and the PI3K-Akt signal pathway, which are closely related to cell metabolism. Eight selected DEGs related to adipose tissue development or metabolism were verified by RT-qPCR, indicating the reliability of the RNA-seq data. The results of this comparative transcriptome analysis of adipose tissue and screening DEGs suggest several candidates for further investigations of meat quality in different cattle breeds. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Differential Expression of ACTL8 Gene and Association Study of Its Variations with Growth Traits in Chinese Cattle
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1068; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121068 - 02 Dec 2019
Abstract
Mutations are heritable changes at the base level of genomic DNA. Furthermore, mutations lead to genetic polymorphisms and may alter animal growth phenotypes. Our previous study found that mutations in the bovine Actin-like protein 8 (ACTL8) gene may be involved in [...] Read more.
Mutations are heritable changes at the base level of genomic DNA. Furthermore, mutations lead to genetic polymorphisms and may alter animal growth phenotypes. Our previous study found that mutations in the bovine Actin-like protein 8 (ACTL8) gene may be involved in muscle growth and development. This study explored several mutations of the ACTL8 gene and their influence on body size in Chinese beef cattle, as well as tested the tissue expression profile of the ACTL8 gene in Qinchuan cattle at different ages. Five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (including one synonymous mutation (c.2135552895G > A)) and two insertion/deletion polymorphisms (indels) were identified in the ACTL8 gene from 1138 cattle by DNA-seq, RFLP and other methods. Then, the expression profile of the ACTL8 gene in Qinchuan cattle showed that it was expressed in heart, spleen, lung, liver, muscle, and fat tissues. Moreover, the expression level of ACTL8 was increased with cattle growth (p < 0.01). The ACTL8 mRNA expression level in kidney and muscle tissues was the highest in the calves, while lowest in the fetal stage. Overall, we showed that the mutations could act as markers in beef molecular breeding and selection of the growth traits of cattle. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Estimation of Genetic Parameters by Single-Trait and Multi-Trait Models for Carcass Traits in Hanwoo Cattle
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1061; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121061 - 02 Dec 2019
Abstract
Hanwoo breed is preferred in South Korea because of the high standards in marbling and the palatability of its meat. Numerous studies have been conducted and are ongoing to increase the meat production and quality in this beef population. The aim of this [...] Read more.
Hanwoo breed is preferred in South Korea because of the high standards in marbling and the palatability of its meat. Numerous studies have been conducted and are ongoing to increase the meat production and quality in this beef population. The aim of this study was to estimate and compare genetic parameters for carcass traits using BLUPF90 software. Four models were constructed, single trait pedigree model (STPM), single-trait genomic model (STGM), multi-trait pedigree model (MTPM), and multi-trait genomic model (MTGM), using the pedigree, phenotype, and genomic information of 7991 Hanwoo cattle. Four carcass traits were evaluated: Back fat thickness (BFT), carcass weight (CWT), eye muscle area (EMA), and marbling score (MS). Heritability estimates of 0.40 and 0.41 for BFT, 0.33 and 0.34 for CWT, 0.36 and 0.37 for EMA, and 0.35 and 0.38 for MS were obtained for the single-trait pedigree model and the multi-trait pedigree model, respectively, in Hanwoo. Further, the genomic model showed more improved results compared to the pedigree model, with heritability of 0.39 (CWT), 0.39 (EMA), and 0.46 (MS), except for 0.39 (BFT), which may be due to random events. Utilization of genomic information in the form of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) has allowed more capturing of the variance from the traits improving the variance components. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Comprehensive Analysis of Runs of Homozygosity of Eleven Cattle Breeds Representing Different Production Types
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1024; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121024 - 25 Nov 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
In the presented research, BovineSNP50 microarrays (Illumina) were applied to determine runs of homozygosity in the genomes of 11 cattle breeds maintained in Poland. These cattle breeds represent three basic utility types: milk, meat and dual purpose. Analysis of runs of homozygosity allowed [...] Read more.
In the presented research, BovineSNP50 microarrays (Illumina) were applied to determine runs of homozygosity in the genomes of 11 cattle breeds maintained in Poland. These cattle breeds represent three basic utility types: milk, meat and dual purpose. Analysis of runs of homozygosity allowed the evaluation of the level of autozygosity within each breed in order to calculate the genomic inbreeding coefficient (FROH), as well as to identify regions of the genome with a high frequency of ROH occurrence, which may reflect traces of directional selectin left in their genomes. Visible differences in the length and distribution of runs of homozygosity in the genomes of the analyzed cattle breeds have been observed. The highest mean number and mean sums of lengths of runs of homozygosity were characteristic for Hereford cattle and intermediate for the Holstein-Friesian Black-and-White variety, Holstein-Friesian Red-and-White variety, Simmental, Limousin, Montbeliarde and Charolais breeds. However, lower values were observed for cattle of conserved breeds. Moreover, the selected livestock differed in the level of inbreeding estimated using the FROH coefficient. In regions of the genome with a high frequency of ROH occurrence, which may reflect the impact of directional selection, a number of genes were observed that can be potentially related to the production traits which are under selection pressure for specific production types. The most important detected genes were GHR, MSTN, DGAT1, FABP4, and TRH, with a known influence on the milk and meat traits of the studied cattle breeds. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Four Novel SNPs of MYO1A Gene Associated with Heat-Tolerance in Chinese Cattle
Animals 2019, 9(11), 964; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110964 - 13 Nov 2019
Abstract
Based on the previous GWAS research related to bovine heat tolerance trait, this study aimed to explore the effect of myosin-1a (MYO1A) gene on bovine heat tolerance trait, and find the molecular markers related to the heat tolerance of Chinese cattle. [...] Read more.
Based on the previous GWAS research related to bovine heat tolerance trait, this study aimed to explore the effect of myosin-1a (MYO1A) gene on bovine heat tolerance trait, and find the molecular markers related to the heat tolerance of Chinese cattle. In our study, four novel candidate SNPs highly conserved in B. indicus breeds but barely existed in B. taurus were identified in MYO1A gene according to Bovine Genome Variation Database and Selective Signatures (BGVD). PCR and DNA sequencing were used to genotype 1072 individuals including 34 Chinese indigenous cattle breeds as well as Angus and Indian zebu. Two synonymous mutations (rs208210464 and rs110123931), one missense mutation (rs209999142; Phe172Ser), and one intron mutation (rs135771836) were detected. The frequencies of mutant alleles of the four SNPs gradually increased from northern groups to southern groups of Chinese cattle, which was consistent with the distribution of various climatic conditions of China. Additionally, four SNPs were significantly associated with four climatic conditions including annual mean temperature (T), relative humidity (H), temperature-humidity index (THI), and average annual sunshine hours (100-cloudiness) (SR). Among these, rs209999142 and Hap 1/1 had better performance than others. Our results suggested that rs209999142 was associated with heat-tolerance trait and rs208210464, rs110123931, and rs135771836 showed high phenotypic effect on heat-tolerance trait because of the strong linkage with rs209999142. These SNPs could be used as candidates for marker-assisted selection (MAS) in cattle breeding. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Genetic Selection for Thermotolerance in Ruminants
Animals 2019, 9(11), 948; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110948 - 11 Nov 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
Variations in climatic variables (temperature, humidity and solar radiation) negatively impact livestock growth, reproduction, and production. Heat stress, for instance, is a source of huge financial loss to livestock production globally. There have been significant advances in physical modifications of animal environment and [...] Read more.
Variations in climatic variables (temperature, humidity and solar radiation) negatively impact livestock growth, reproduction, and production. Heat stress, for instance, is a source of huge financial loss to livestock production globally. There have been significant advances in physical modifications of animal environment and nutritional interventions as tools of heat stress mitigation. Unfortunately, these are short-term solutions and may be unsustainable, costly, and not applicable to all production systems. Accordingly, there is a need for innovative, practical, and sustainable approaches to overcome the challenges posed by global warming and climate change-induced heat stress. This review highlights attempts to genetically select and breed ruminants for thermotolerance and thereby sustain production in the face of changing climates. One effective way is to incorporate sustainable heat abatement strategies in ruminant production. Improved knowledge of the physiology of ruminant acclimation to harsh environments, the opportunities and tools available for selecting and breeding thermotolerant ruminants, and the matching of animals to appropriate environments should help to minimise the effect of heat stress on sustainable animal genetic resource growth, production, and reproduction to ensure protein food security. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Selection of Reference Genes for Quantitative Real-Time PCR in the Ashidan Yak Mammary Gland During Lactation and Dry Period
Animals 2019, 9(11), 943; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110943 - 10 Nov 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Investigating the critical genes related to milk synthesis is essential for the improvement of the milk yield of the yak. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) is a reliable and widely used method to measure and evaluate gene expression levels. Selection of suitable [...] Read more.
Investigating the critical genes related to milk synthesis is essential for the improvement of the milk yield of the yak. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) is a reliable and widely used method to measure and evaluate gene expression levels. Selection of suitable reference genes is mandatory to acquire accurate normalization of gene expression results from RT-qPCR. To select the most stable reference genes for reliable normalization of mRNA expression by RT-qPCR in the mammary gland of the Ashidan yak, we selected 16 candidate reference genes and analyzed their expression stability at different physiological stages (lactation and dry period). The expression stability of the candidate reference genes was assessed using geNorm, NormFinder, BestKeeper, Delta Ct, and RefFinder methods. The results showed that the hydroxymethylbilane synthase gene (HMBS) and the tyrosine 3-monooxygenase/tryptophan 5-monooxygenase activation protein, zeta polypeptide gene (YWHAZ) were the most stable genes across all treatment samples. The reliability of selected reference genes was validated by normalizing relative expression of the lactation-related 60S ribosomal protein L35 gene (RPL35). The relative expression of RPL35 varied considerably according to the different reference genes. This work provides valuable information to further promote research in the molecular mechanisms involved in lactation and mammary gland development and provides a foundation for the improvement of the milk yield and quality of the Ashidan yak. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Study of Genomic Prediction of 12 Important Traits in the Domesticated Yak (Bos grunniens)
Animals 2019, 9(11), 927; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110927 - 07 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The aim of this study was to explore the possibility of applying GP to important economic traits in the domesticated yak, thus providing theoretical support for its molecular breeding. A reference population was constructed consisting of 354 polled yaks, measuring four growth traits [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to explore the possibility of applying GP to important economic traits in the domesticated yak, thus providing theoretical support for its molecular breeding. A reference population was constructed consisting of 354 polled yaks, measuring four growth traits and eight hematological traits related to resistance to disease (involved in immune response and phagocytosis). The Illumina bovine HD 770k chip was used to obtain SNP information of all the individuals. With these genotypes and phenotypes, GBLUP, Bayes B and Bayes Cπ methods were used to predict genomic estimated breeding values (GEBV) and assess prediction capability. The correlation coefficient of the association of GEBV with estimated breeding value (EBV) was used as PA for each trait. The prediction accuracy varied from 0.043 to 0.281 for different traits. Each trait displayed similar PAs when using the three methods. Lymphocyte counts (LYM) exhibited the highest predictive accuracy (0.319) during all GP, while chest girth (CG) provided the lowest predictive accuracy (0.043). Our results showed moderate PA in most traits such as body length (0.212) and hematocrit (0.23). Those traits with lower PA could be improved by using SNP chips designed specifically for yak, a better optimized reference group structure, and more efficient statistical algorithms and tools. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Tracing Worldwide Turkey Genetic Diversity Using D-loop Sequence Mitochondrial DNA Analysis
Animals 2019, 9(11), 897; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110897 - 01 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
According to recent archeological evidence, turkey (Meleagris gallopavo gallopavo) domestication may have occurred in Mexico around 2000 years ago. However, little is known about the phylogenetic and genealogical background underlying domestic turkey populations. This study aimed to further understand the domestication process and [...] Read more.
According to recent archeological evidence, turkey (Meleagris gallopavo gallopavo) domestication may have occurred in Mexico around 2000 years ago. However, little is known about the phylogenetic and genealogical background underlying domestic turkey populations. This study aimed to further understand the domestication process and identify inter- or intraspecific connections between turkey populations to determine their origins, trace their global expansion, and define the species’ genetic value. Ninety-three domestic turkeys (local breeds) were sampled from populations in Brazil, Mexico, USA, Spain, Italy, Iran, and Egypt. Publicly available sequences from previous studies were also included. Standard mitochondrial DNA, genetic diversity, and haplotype network analyses were performed. Seventy-six polymorphic sites were identified. Turkeys from Mexico showed the greatest number of polymorphic sites (40), while turkeys from Italy and Brazil reported only one site each. Nucleotide diversity was also highest in Mexico and the USA (π = 0.0175 and 0.0102, respectively) and lowest in Brazil and Italy. Of the six major haplogroups defined, the Mexican and USA populations appeared to have remained more stable and diverse than the other populations. This may be due to conservative husbandry policies in the rural areas of other populations, which have prevented the introduction of commercial turkey lines. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Population Structure and Genetic Diversity of Italian Beef Breeds as a Tool for Planning Conservation and Selection Strategies
Animals 2019, 9(11), 880; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110880 - 29 Oct 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
The aim was to investigate the population structure of eight beef breeds: three local Tuscan breeds under extinction, Calvana (CAL), Mucca Pisana (MUP), and Pontremolese (PON); three local unselected breeds reared in Sardinia, Sarda (SAR), Sardo Bruna (SAB), and Sardo Modicana (SAM); and [...] Read more.
The aim was to investigate the population structure of eight beef breeds: three local Tuscan breeds under extinction, Calvana (CAL), Mucca Pisana (MUP), and Pontremolese (PON); three local unselected breeds reared in Sardinia, Sarda (SAR), Sardo Bruna (SAB), and Sardo Modicana (SAM); and two cosmopolitan breeds, Charolais (CHA) and Limousine (LIM), reared in the same regions. An effective population size ranges between 14.62 (PON) to 39.79 (SAM) in local breeds, 90.29 for CHA, and 135.65 for LIM. The average inbreeding coefficients were higher in Tuscan breeds (7.25%, 5.10%, and 3.64% for MUP, CAL, and PON, respectively) compared to the Sardinian breeds (1.23%, 1.66%, and 1.90% in SAB, SAM, and SAR, respectively), while for CHA and LIM they were <1%. The highest rates of mating between half-siblings were observed for CAL and MUP (~9% and 6.5%, respectively), while the highest rate of parent–offspring mating was ~8% for MUP. Our findings describe the urgent situation of the three Tuscan breeds and support the application of conservation measures and/or the development of breeding programs. Development of breeding strategies is suggested for the Sardinian breeds. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Bta-miR-24-3p Controls the Myogenic Differentiation and Proliferation of Fetal Bovine Skeletal Muscle-Derived Progenitor Cells by Targeting ACVR1B
Animals 2019, 9(11), 859; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110859 - 24 Oct 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
MicroRNAs modulate a variety of cellular events, including skeletal muscle development, but the molecular basis of their functions in fetal bovine skeletal muscle development is poorly understood. In this study, we report that bta-miR-24-3p promotes the myogenic differentiation of fetal bovine PDGFRα- [...] Read more.
MicroRNAs modulate a variety of cellular events, including skeletal muscle development, but the molecular basis of their functions in fetal bovine skeletal muscle development is poorly understood. In this study, we report that bta-miR-24-3p promotes the myogenic differentiation of fetal bovine PDGFRα- progenitor cells. The expression of bta-miR-24-3p increased during myogenic differentiation. Overexpression of bta-miR-24-3p significantly promoted myogenic differentiation, but inhibited proliferation. A dual-luciferase assay identified ACVR1B as a direct target of bta-miR-24-3p. Similarly, knocking down ACVR1B by RNA interference also significantly inhibited proliferation and promoted the differentiation of bovine PDGFRα- progenitor cells. Thus, our study provides a mechanism in which bta-miR-24-3p regulates myogenesis by inhibiting ACVR1B expression. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Association of Twelve Candidate Gene Polymorphisms with the Intramuscular Fat Content and Average Backfat Thickness of Chinese Suhuai Pigs
Animals 2019, 9(11), 858; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110858 - 23 Oct 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
The present study aimed to identify the molecular markers for genes that influence intramuscular fat content (IFC), but not average backfat thickness (ABT). A total of 330 Suhuai pigs were slaughtered, and measurements of IFC and ABT were obtained. Phenotypic and genetic correlations [...] Read more.
The present study aimed to identify the molecular markers for genes that influence intramuscular fat content (IFC), but not average backfat thickness (ABT). A total of 330 Suhuai pigs were slaughtered, and measurements of IFC and ABT were obtained. Phenotypic and genetic correlations between IFC and ABT were calculated. Thirteen single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) among 12 candidate genes for IFC were analyzed, including FABP3, LIPE, IGF1, IGF2, LEP, LEPR, MC4R, PHKG1, RETN, RYR1, SCD, and UBE3C. Associations of the evaluated SNPs with IFCIFC and ABT were performed. Our results showed that the means of IFC and ABT were 1.99 ± 0.03 % and 26.68 ± 0.28 mm, respectively. The coefficients of variation (CVs) of IFC and ABT were 31.21% and 19.36%, respectively. The phenotypic and genetic correlations between IFC and ABT were moderate. Only the FABP3 (rs1110770079) was associated with IFC (p < 0.05) but not with ABT. Besides, there was a tendency for associations of RYR1 (rs344435545) and SCD (rs80912566) with IFC (p < 0.1). Our results indicated that the FABP3 (rs1110770079) SNP could be used as a marker to improve IFC without changing ABT in the Suhuai pig breeding system. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of Copy Number Variation in Domestic Chicken Using Whole-Genome Sequencing Reveals Evidence of Selection in the Genome
Animals 2019, 9(10), 809; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100809 - 15 Oct 2019
Abstract
Copy number variation (CNV) has great significance both functionally and evolutionally. Various CNV studies are in progress to find the cause of human disease and to understand the population structure of livestock. Recent advances in next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology have made CNV detection [...] Read more.
Copy number variation (CNV) has great significance both functionally and evolutionally. Various CNV studies are in progress to find the cause of human disease and to understand the population structure of livestock. Recent advances in next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology have made CNV detection more reliable and accurate at whole-genome level. However, there is a lack of CNV studies on chickens using NGS. Therefore, we obtained whole-genome sequencing data of 65 chickens including Red Jungle Fowl, Cornish (broiler), Rhode Island Red (hybrid), and White Leghorn (layer) from the public databases for CNV region (CNVR) detection. Using CNVnator, a read-depth based software, a total of 663 domesticated-specific CNVRs were identified across autosomes. Gene ontology analysis of genes annotated in CNVRs showed that mainly enriched terms involved in organ development, metabolism, and immune regulation. Population analysis revealed that CN and RIR are closer to each other than WL, and many genes (LOC772271, OR52R1, RD3, ADH6, TLR2B, PRSS2, TPK1, POPDC3, etc.) with different copy numbers between breeds found. In conclusion, this study has helped to understand the genetic characteristics of domestic chickens at CNV level, which may provide useful information for the development of breeding systems in chickens. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Theoretical Evaluation of Multi-Breed Genomic Prediction in Chinese Indigenous Cattle
Animals 2019, 9(10), 789; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100789 - 11 Oct 2019
Abstract
Genomic selection (GS) has been widely considered as a valuable strategy for enhancing the rate of genetic gain in farm animals. However, the construction of a large reference population is a big challenge for small populations like indigenous cattle. In order to evaluate [...] Read more.
Genomic selection (GS) has been widely considered as a valuable strategy for enhancing the rate of genetic gain in farm animals. However, the construction of a large reference population is a big challenge for small populations like indigenous cattle. In order to evaluate the potential application of GS for Chinese indigenous cattle, we assessed the influence of combining multiple populations on the reliability of genomic predictions for 10 indigenous breeds of Chinese cattle using simulated data. Also, we examined the effect of different genetic architecture on prediction accuracy. In this study, we simulated a set of genotype data by a resampling approach which can reflect the realistic linkage disequilibrium pattern for multiple populations. We found within-breed evaluations yielded the highest accuracies ranged from 0.64 to 0.68 for four different simulated genetic architectures. For scenarios using multiple breeds as reference, the predictive accuracies were higher when the reference was comprised of breeds with a close relationship, while the accuracies were low when prediction were carried out among breeds. In addition, the accuracy increased in all scenarios with the heritability increased. Our results suggested that using meta-population as reference can increase accuracy of genomic predictions for small populations. Moreover, multi-breed genomic selection was feasible for Chinese indigenous populations with genetic relationships. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comprehensive Analysis of Porcine Prox1 Gene and Its Relationship with Meat Quality Traits
Animals 2019, 9(10), 744; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100744 - 29 Sep 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Prox1 is involved in muscle fiber conversion, adult-onset obesity, and type 2 diabetes. However, information regarding porcine Prox1 and its relationship with meat quality traits is still unknown. In this study, we characterized the full-length cDNA and proximal promoter of two transcript variants [...] Read more.
Prox1 is involved in muscle fiber conversion, adult-onset obesity, and type 2 diabetes. However, information regarding porcine Prox1 and its relationship with meat quality traits is still unknown. In this study, we characterized the full-length cDNA and proximal promoter of two transcript variants of porcine Prox1. Moreover, Prox1 was expressed abundantly in the skeletal muscle and its expression was higher in the soleus muscle than that in the biceps femoris muscle. Its expression pattern in the high and low meat color (redness) value a* groups was similar to that of myoglobin and MyHC I, but opposed to that of MyHC IIB. Importantly, there was a significant positive correlation between Prox1 expression and meat color (redness) value a* (r = 0.3845, p = 0.0394), and a significant negative correlation between Prox1 expression and drip loss (r = −0.4204, p = 0.0232), as well as the ratio of MyHC IIB to MyHC I expression (r = −0.3871, p = 0.0380). In addition, we found that the polymorphisms of three closely linked SNPs in Prox1 promoter 1 were significantly associated with pH24h in a pig population. Taken together, our data provide valuable insights into the characteristics of porcine Prox1 and indicate that Prox1 is a promising candidate gene affecting meat quality traits. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Genome-Wide Association Study for Reproductive Traits in a Duroc Pig Population
Animals 2019, 9(10), 732; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100732 - 26 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In the pig industry, reproductive traits constantly influence the production efficiency. To identify markers and candidate genes underlying porcine reproductive traits, a genome-wide association study (GWAS) was performed in a Duroc pig population. In total, 1067 pigs were genotyped using single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) [...] Read more.
In the pig industry, reproductive traits constantly influence the production efficiency. To identify markers and candidate genes underlying porcine reproductive traits, a genome-wide association study (GWAS) was performed in a Duroc pig population. In total, 1067 pigs were genotyped using single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) chips, and four reproductive traits, including litter size at birth (LSB), litter weight at birth (LWB), litter size at weaning (LSW), and litter weight at weaning (LWW), were examined. The results showed that 20 potential SNPs reached the level of suggestive significance and were associated with these traits of interest. Several important candidate genes, including TXN2, KCNA1, ENSSSCG00000003546, ZDHHC18, MAP2K6, BICC1, FAM135B, EPHB2, SEMA4D, ST3GAL1, KCTD3, FAM110A, TMEM132D, TBX3, and FAM110A, were identified and might compose the underlying genetic architecture of porcine reproductive traits. These findings help to understand the genetic basis of porcine reproductive traits and provide important information for molecular breeding in pigs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Associations between Bovine β-Defensin 4 Genotypes and Production Traits of Polish Holstein-Friesian Dairy Cattle
Animals 2019, 9(10), 723; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100723 - 25 Sep 2019
Abstract
This study analyzed the associations between two single-nucleotide polymorphisms (C2239T and A1674C), used together as a genotype located in BNBD4, and milk traits and breeding values of productivity traits of Polish Holstein-Friesian dairy cows. The research was carried out on 322 cows, with [...] Read more.
This study analyzed the associations between two single-nucleotide polymorphisms (C2239T and A1674C), used together as a genotype located in BNBD4, and milk traits and breeding values of productivity traits of Polish Holstein-Friesian dairy cows. The research was carried out on 322 cows, with 7070 milk parameter and somatic cell count records in daily milking, as well as 897 records covering data on whole lactations, and 2209 breeding value records for productivity traits. The DMU statistical package with a one-trait repeatability test-day animal model was used to estimate the associations. The differences between the genotype effects were analyzed using Duncan’s post-hoc tests. The CC/AA and CT/AC genotypes had the highest frequencies (0.62 and 0.23, respectively). For use in marker-assisted selection, the CC/AC genotype is the most promising as an indicator of high-yielding cows potentially resistant to mastitis, because it was associated with the lowest somatic cell count (SCC), highest milk, fat, and protein yields in daily milking, as well as with milk yield in the whole lactation. The studied genotypes were also related to the breeding values of all the investigated production traits. However, some simulation studies have indicated a high rate of false-positives in GWAS based on classically calculated EBVs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Estimation of Genetic Parameters for Reproductive Traits in Hanwoo (Korean Cattle)
Animals 2019, 9(10), 715; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100715 - 24 Sep 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Genetic parameters for the reproductive traits of Hanwoo cattle were estimated using data obtained from 15,355 cows in 92 herds across South Korea, which were inseminated from May 1997 to July 2016. An “average information” restricted maximum likelihood (REML) procedure that fit in [...] Read more.
Genetic parameters for the reproductive traits of Hanwoo cattle were estimated using data obtained from 15,355 cows in 92 herds across South Korea, which were inseminated from May 1997 to July 2016. An “average information” restricted maximum likelihood (REML) procedure that fit in single-trait and multi-trait animal models was used to estimate the variance components of age at first calving (AFC), calving interval (CI), days open (DO), and gestation length (GL). Results showed the low estimates of heritability for all reproductive traits from both single-trait and multi-trait models. Estimates of heritability for AFC were 0.08 and 0.10 with single-trait and multi-trait models, respectively, while the estimates of heritability using the same animal models ranged from 0.01 to 0.07, 0.01 to 0.09, and 0.10 to 0.16 for CI, DO, and GL, accordingly. While AFC showed positive genetic correlations of 0.52 and 0.46 with CI and DO, respectively, the estimates of genetic and phenotypic correlations of GL with AFC were close to zero. Moreover, phenotypic correlations of GL with CI and DO were also close to zero; however, the corresponding genetic correlations were 0.13 and –0.38 for CI and DO, respectively. These estimated variance components and genetic correlations for reproductive traits can be utilized for genetic improvement programs of Hanwoo cattle. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Genetic Parameter Estimation and Genomic Prediction of Duroc Boars’ Sperm Morphology Abnormalities
Animals 2019, 9(10), 710; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100710 - 23 Sep 2019
Abstract
Artificial insemination (AI) has been used globally as a routine technology in the swine production industry. However, genetic parameters and genomic prediction accuracy of semen traits have seldom been reported. In this study, we estimated genetic parameters and conducted genomic prediction for five [...] Read more.
Artificial insemination (AI) has been used globally as a routine technology in the swine production industry. However, genetic parameters and genomic prediction accuracy of semen traits have seldom been reported. In this study, we estimated genetic parameters and conducted genomic prediction for five types of sperm morphology abnormalities in a large Duroc boar population. The estimated heritability of the studied traits ranged from 0.029 to 0.295. In the random cross-validation scenario, the predictive ability ranged from 0.212 to 0.417 for genomic best linear unbiased prediction (GBLUP) and from 0.249 to 0.565 for single-step GBLUP (ssGBLUP). In the forward prediction scenario, the predictive ability ranged from 0.069 to 0.389 for GBLUP and from 0.085 to 0.483 for ssGBLUP. In conclusion, the studied sperm morphology abnormalities showed moderate to low heritability. Both GBLUP and ssGBLUP showed comparative predictive abilities of breeding values, and ssGBLUP outperformed GBLUP under many circumstances in respect to predictive ability. To our knowledge, this is the first time that the genetic parameters and genomic predictive ability of these traits were reported in such a large Duroc boar population. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
A Missense Mutation of the HSPB7 Gene Associated with Heat Tolerance in Chinese Indicine Cattle
Animals 2019, 9(8), 554; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9080554 - 14 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The small heat shock proteins (HSPB) are expressed in response to heat stress, and the heat shock protein family B (small) member 7 (HSPB7) gene has been reported to play an important role in heat tolerance pathways. Only a missense mutation [...] Read more.
The small heat shock proteins (HSPB) are expressed in response to heat stress, and the heat shock protein family B (small) member 7 (HSPB7) gene has been reported to play an important role in heat tolerance pathways. Only a missense mutation (NC_037329.1: g.136054902 C > G: p.Ala69Gly) was identified in the HSPB7 gene in indicine cattle, which might be a candidate mutation associated with the heat tolerance. Here, we explore the allele frequency of this mutation in 774 individuals belonging to 32 Chinese indigenous cattle breeds using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and DNA sequencing methods. The distribution of alleles of NC_037329.1: g.136054902 C > G displays significant geographical difference across native Chinese cattle breeds that the allele C was dominant in northern cattle groups, while allele G was dominant in southern indicine cattle groups. Additionally, the association analysis indicated that the G allele was significantly associated with mean annual temperature (T), relative humidity (RH), and temperature humidity index (THI) (p < 0.01), suggesting that cattle carrying allele G were distributed in regions with higher T, RH, and THI. Our results demonstrate that the mutation of the HSPB7 gene in Chinese indicine cattle might be a candidate gene associated with the heat tolerance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Genome-Wide Scan for Runs of Homozygosity Identifies Candidate Genes in Three Pig Breeds
Animals 2019, 9(8), 518; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9080518 - 01 Aug 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
Runs of homozygosity (ROH) are contiguous homozygous genotype segments in the genome that are present in an individual since the identical haplotypes are inherited from each parent. The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency and distribution of ROH in the [...] Read more.
Runs of homozygosity (ROH) are contiguous homozygous genotype segments in the genome that are present in an individual since the identical haplotypes are inherited from each parent. The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency and distribution of ROH in the genomes of Landrace, Songliao black and Yorkshire pigs. We calculated two types of genome inbreeding coefficients and their correlation, including the inbreeding coefficient based on ROH (FROH) and the inbreeding coefficient based on the difference between the observed and expected number of homozygous genotypes (FHOM). Furthermore, we identified candidate genes in the genomic region most associated with ROH. We identified 21,312 ROH in total. The average number of ROH per individual was 32.99 ± 0.38 and the average length of ROH was 6.40 ± 0.070 Mb in the three breeds. The FROH results showed that Yorkshire pigs exhibited the highest level of inbreeding (0.092 ± 0.0015) and that Landrace pigs exhibited the lowest level of inbreeding (0.073 ± 0.0047). The average correlation between FROH and FHOM was high (0.94) within three breeds. The length of ROH provides insight into the inbreeding history of these three pig breeds. In this study, Songliao black pigs presented a higher frequency and average length of long ROH (>40 Mb) compared with those of Landrace and Yorkshire pigs, which indicated greater inbreeding in recent times. Genes related to reproductive traits (GATM, SPATA46, HSD17B7, VANGL2, DAXX, CPEB1), meat quality traits (NR1I3, APOA2, USF1) and energy conversion (NDUFS2) were identified within genomic regions with a high frequency of ROH. These genes could be used as target genes for further marker-assisted selection and genome selection. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of the Ovine Keratin-Associated Protein 21-1 Gene and Its Association with Variation in Wool Traits
Animals 2019, 9(7), 450; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070450 - 16 Jul 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Keratin-associated proteins (KAPs) are key constituents of wool and hair fibers. In this study, an ovine KAP gene encoding a HGT-KAP protein was identified. The gene was different from all of the HGT-KAP genes identified in sheep, but was closely related to the [...] Read more.
Keratin-associated proteins (KAPs) are key constituents of wool and hair fibers. In this study, an ovine KAP gene encoding a HGT-KAP protein was identified. The gene was different from all of the HGT-KAP genes identified in sheep, but was closely related to the human KAP21-1 gene, suggesting that it represented the unidentified ovine KRTAP21-1. Four variants (named A to D) of ovine KRTAP21-1 were found in 360 Merino × Southdown-cross lambs from four sire lines. Three sequence variations were detected among these variants. Two of the sequence variations were located upstream of the coding region and the remaining one was a synonymous variation in the coding sequence. Six genotypes were found in the Merino-cross lambs, with only two of the genotypes (AA and AC) occurring at a frequency of over 5%. Wool from sheep of genotype AA had a higher yield than that from AC sheep (p = 0.014), but tended to have a lower greasy fleece weight (GFW) than that of genotype AC (P = 0.078). This suggests that variation in KRTAP21-1 affects wool yield and the gene may have potential for use as a genetic maker for improving wool yield. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in SLC5A1, CCNA1, and ABCC1 and the Association with Litter Size in Small-Tail Han Sheep
Animals 2019, 9(7), 432; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070432 - 09 Jul 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
SLC5A1, CCNA1, and ABCC1 have been extensively studied as candidate genes because of their great influence on the reproductive traits of animals. However, little is known about the association between polymorphisms of the SLC5A1, CCNA1, and ABCC1 genes and [...] Read more.
SLC5A1, CCNA1, and ABCC1 have been extensively studied as candidate genes because of their great influence on the reproductive traits of animals. However, little is known about the association between polymorphisms of the SLC5A1, CCNA1, and ABCC1 genes and litter size in Small-Tail Han sheep. In this study, the expression levels of SLC5A1, CCNA1, and ABCC1 in HPG (hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal) axis tissues of polytocous and monotocous Small-Tail Han sheep were analyzed by qPCR. To better understand the effects of four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) comprising of g.70067210 T > C in SLC5A1, g.25350431 C > T and g.25360220 T > C in CCNA1, and g.14413132 C > T in ABCC1, a population genetic analysis was conducted using data obtained from genotyping in 728 sheep from seven breeds. The results indicated that all genes included in this study were differentially expressed in the pituitary and uterus of polytocous and monotocous Small-Tail Han sheep (p < 0.05). The associations of these four SNPs and the FecB mutation with litter size in 384 Small-Tail Han sheep were analyzed, therefore, and it was found that both g.70067210T > C and the FecB mutation were significantly associated with litter size (p < 0.05). The linear regression analysis of the association of multiple markers (FecB and g.70067210 T > C in SCL5A1) with litter size indicated that homozygous ewes carrying the BB/TT genotype had larger litter size than any ewes with any other genotype. In conclusion, the SLC5A1 SNPs significantly affect litter size in sheep and are useful as genetic marker for litter size. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization of a Novel Porcine CSN2 Polymorphism and Its Distribution in Five European Breeds
Animals 2019, 9(7), 419; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070419 - 04 Jul 2019
Abstract
Here, we describe a novel porcine β-casein (CNS2) polymorphism, initially identified using the isoelectric focusing (IEF) technique, and provide its distribution in five European breeds. Porcine CSN2 cDNA samples, from sows identified using IEF as carriers of polymorphic variants, were sequenced, [...] Read more.
Here, we describe a novel porcine β-casein (CNS2) polymorphism, initially identified using the isoelectric focusing (IEF) technique, and provide its distribution in five European breeds. Porcine CSN2 cDNA samples, from sows identified using IEF as carriers of polymorphic variants, were sequenced, and based on the sequence alignments, a genotyping assay was developed. The distribution of the polymorphism was investigated by genotyping 167 sows. Population genetic indexes were computed using POPGENE32 version 1.32. Sequence alignments revealed that the mutation which caused the different β-casein IEF migration profiles was c.647G>A, a substitution located in exon 7, which modifies the amino acid from position 201 of the mature protein from arginine to glutamine. The frequency of the G allele was 0.965 in the investigated Landrace population (number of individuals genotyped n = 67), one in the Pietrain population (n = 40), 0.705 in the Large White population (n = 36), 0.885 in the Bazna population (n = 13), and 0.555 in the Mangalita population (n = 11). For all breeds, except Pietrain (monomorphic), the genotype distribution was in accordance with the Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium. Given that β-casein is the most important protein in sows’ milk, a polymorphism like the one described here may prove interesting for marker-assisted selection. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Estimation of Genetic Parameters for Peak Yield, Yield and Persistency Traits in Murciano-Granadina Goats Using Multi-Traits Models
Animals 2019, 9(7), 411; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070411 - 01 Jul 2019
Abstract
This paper studies parameters of a lactation curve such as peak yield (PY) and persistency (P), which do not conform to the usual selection criteria in the Murciano-Granadina (MG) breed, but are considered to be an alternative to benefit animal welfare without reducing [...] Read more.
This paper studies parameters of a lactation curve such as peak yield (PY) and persistency (P), which do not conform to the usual selection criteria in the Murciano-Granadina (MG) breed, but are considered to be an alternative to benefit animal welfare without reducing production. Using 315,663 production records (of 122,883 animals) over a period of 24 years (1990–2014), genetic parameters were estimated with uni-, bi- and multivariate analysis using multiple trait derivative free restricted maximum likelihood (MTDFREML). The heritability (h2)/repeatability (re) of PY, yield (Y) and P was estimated as 0.13/0.19, 0.16/0.25 and 0.08/0.09 with the uni-trait and h2 of bi- and multi-traits analysis ranging from 0.16 to 0.17 of Y, while that of PY and Y remained constant. Genetic correlations were high between PY–Y (0.94 ± 0.011) but low between PY–P (–0.16 ± 0.054 to –0.17 ± 0.054) and between Y–P (–0.06 ± 0.058 to –0.05 ± 0.058). Estimates of h2/re were low to intermediate. The selection for Y–PY or both can be implemented given the genetic correlation between these traits. PY–P and Y–P showed low to negligible correlation values indicating that if these traits are implemented in the early stages of evaluation, they would not be to the detriment of PY–Y. The combination of estimated breeding values (EBVs) for all traits would be a good criterion for selection. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Association of Ghrelin Gene Polymorphisms with Fattening Traits and Feed Intake in Pig: A Preliminary Study
Animals 2019, 9(7), 410; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070410 - 01 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Numerous studies have been conducted to explain the biological functions and mechanism of ghrelin (GHRL) action in animals. However, the exact role of ghrelin in the regulation of growth and development in pigs is still unclear. The ghrelin gene is considered to be [...] Read more.
Numerous studies have been conducted to explain the biological functions and mechanism of ghrelin (GHRL) action in animals. However, the exact role of ghrelin in the regulation of growth and development in pigs is still unclear. The ghrelin gene is considered to be a good candidate marker for the identification of economically important traits in pig production such as feed intake, growth or carcass quality. The objectives of the present study were to investigate the regulatory regions and coding sequence of the porcine GHRL gene and determine the effect of polymorphisms at the ghrelin gene locus on selected fattening traits. Data were obtained from 346 gilts (pure breeds: Landrace, 188; Duroc, 74; Pietrain, 84). The PCR-RFLP (Polymerase Chain Reaction-Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism) method was used to detect polymorphisms within GHRL. Three polymorphisms were found, one in the promoter region (c.-93A>G) and two in the 3’UTR sequence (g.4428T>C; g.4486C>T). A significant (p ≤ 0.01) additive effect on daily gain (negative) and age at slaughter (positive) was obtained at the locus c.-93A>G. However, the most promising mutation was at the locus g.4486C > T, which is associated with total feed intake. Overall, the described GHRL polymorphisms may be useful as molecular markers in pig selection but future studies are required. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Characterization of Circular RNAs in Chinese Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) Adipose Tissue: A Focus on Circular RNAs Involved in Fat Deposition
Animals 2019, 9(7), 403; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070403 - 01 Jul 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Circular RNAs (circRNAs) have been identified as a novel type of regulators involved in multiple biological processes. However, circRNAs with a potential function in fat deposition in buffalo are poorly understood. In this study, six RNA libraries of adipose tissue were constructed for [...] Read more.
Circular RNAs (circRNAs) have been identified as a novel type of regulators involved in multiple biological processes. However, circRNAs with a potential function in fat deposition in buffalo are poorly understood. In this study, six RNA libraries of adipose tissue were constructed for three young and three adult Chinese buffaloes with paired-ends RNA sequencing using the Illumina HiSeq 3000 platform. A total of 5141 circRNAs were computationally identified. Among them, 252 circRNAs were differentially expressed (DE) between the young and adult buffaloes. Of these, 54 were upregulated and 198 were downregulated in the adult group. Eight DE circRNAs were further identified by quantitative real-time-PCR (qRT-PCR) and Sanger sequencing. Co-expression analysis revealed that 34 circRNAs demonstrated a strong correlation with fat deposition-associated genes (|r| > 0.980). Among these, expressional correlation between two circRNAs (19:45387150|45389986 and 21:6969877|69753491) and PR/SET domain 16 was further verified using qRT-PCR, and a strong correlation was revealed (1 > |r| > 0.8). These results strongly suggest that circRNAs 19:45387150|45389986 and 21:6969877|69753491 are potential regulators of buffalo fat deposition. In summary, this study characterized the circRNA profiles of adipose tissues at different stages for the first time and revealed two circRNAs strongly correlated with fat deposition-associated genes, which provided new candidate regulators for fat deposition in buffalo. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Two Insertion/Deletion Variants within SPAG17 Gene Are Associated with Goat Body Measurement Traits
Animals 2019, 9(6), 379; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060379 - 21 Jun 2019
Cited by 9
Abstract
Sperm-associated antigen 17 (SPAG17) gene encodes a multifunctional cytoplasmic protein, which influences not only reproduction but also skeletal development related body measurement traits, especially body height. Thus, this study aimed to identify crucial insertion-deletion (indel) variations, which influence the body measurement [...] Read more.
Sperm-associated antigen 17 (SPAG17) gene encodes a multifunctional cytoplasmic protein, which influences not only reproduction but also skeletal development related body measurement traits, especially body height. Thus, this study aimed to identify crucial insertion-deletion (indel) variations, which influence the body measurement traits of goats in large goat populations (n = 1725). As a result, two intronic indels (14 bp and 17 bp indel) were identified by sequencing. For the two indel loci, the distributions of genotypes and alleles were significantly different between the Shaanbei white cashmere goat (SBWC) and the Hainan black goat (HNBG). In SBWC goats, the different genotypes of the 14 bp indel were markedly associated with goat body height, chest width, body length and chest depth. The genotypes of the 17 bp indel were significantly related to body height and chest width. At the two loci, for all seven analyzed traits of SBWC goat, the growth data of DD homozygotes were the worst, which means that the 14 bp insertion and the 17 bp deletion were beneficial and detrimental variations, respectively. Moreover, the combined genotypes were significantly related to body height and chest width of SBWC goats and ten traits of HNBG. These results suggested that the 14 and 17 bp indels within SPAG17 can be used in goat growth related traits marker-assisted selection breeding, especially body height. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Genetic Diversity of Indigenous Pigs from South China Area Revealed by SNP Array
Animals 2019, 9(6), 361; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060361 - 16 Jun 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
To investigate the genetic diversity, population structure, extent of linkage disequilibrium (LD), effective population size (Ne), and selection signatures in indigenous pigs from Guangdong and Guangxi in China, 226 pigs belonging to ten diverse populations were genotyped using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) chips. [...] Read more.
To investigate the genetic diversity, population structure, extent of linkage disequilibrium (LD), effective population size (Ne), and selection signatures in indigenous pigs from Guangdong and Guangxi in China, 226 pigs belonging to ten diverse populations were genotyped using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) chips. The genetic divergence between Chinese and Western pigs was determined based on the SNP chip data. Low genetic diversity of Dahuabai (DHB), Luchuan (LC), Lantang (LT), and Meihua (MH) pigs, and introgression of Western pigs into Longlin (LL), MH, and Yuedonghei (YDH) pigs were detected. Analysis of the extent of LD showed that indigenous pigs had low LD when pairwise SNP distance was short and high LD when pairwise SNP distance was long. Effective population size analysis showed a rapid decrease for Chinese indigenous pigs, and some pig populations had a relatively small Ne. This result indicated the loss of genetic diversity in indigenous pigs, and introgression from Western commercial pigs. Selection signatures detected in this study overlapped with meat quality traits, such as drip loss, intramuscular fat content, meat color b*, and average backfat thickness. Our study deepened understanding of the conservation status and domestication of Chinese indigenous pigs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Genome-Wide Linkage Disequilibrium and the Extent of Effective Population Sizes in Six Chinese Goat Populations Using a 50K Single Nucleotide Polymorphism Panel
Animals 2019, 9(6), 350; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060350 - 13 Jun 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Genome-wide linkage disequilibrium is a useful parameter to study quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping and genetic selection. In many genomic methodologies, effective population size is an important genetic parameter because of its relationship to the loss of genetic variation, increases in inbreeding, the [...] Read more.
Genome-wide linkage disequilibrium is a useful parameter to study quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping and genetic selection. In many genomic methodologies, effective population size is an important genetic parameter because of its relationship to the loss of genetic variation, increases in inbreeding, the accumulation of mutations, and the effectiveness of selection. In this study, a total of 193 individuals were genotyped to assess the extent of LD and Ne in six Chinese goat populations using the SNP 50K BeadChip. Across the determined autosomal chromosomes, we found an average of 0.02 and 0.23 for r2 and D’ values, respectively. The average r2 between all the populations varied little and ranged from 0.055 r2 for the Jining Grey to 0.128 r2 for the Guangfeng, with an overall mean of 0.083. Across the 29 autosomal chromosomes, minor allele frequency (MAF) was highest on chromosome 1 (0.321) and lowest on chromosome 25 (0.309), with an average MAF of 0.317, and showing the lowest (25.5% for Louping) and highest (28.8% for Qingeda) SNP proportions at MAF values > 0.3. The inbreeding coefficient ranged from 0.064 to 0.085, with a mean of 0.075 for all the autosomes. The Jining Grey and Qingeda populations showed higher Ne estimates, highlighting that these animals could have been influenced by artificial selection. Furthermore, a declining recent Ne was distinguished for the Arbas Cashmere and Guangfeng populations, and their estimated values were closer to 64 and 95, respectively, 13 generations ago, which indicates that these breeds were exposed to strong selection. This study provides an insight into valuable genetic information and will open up the opportunity for further genomic selection analysis of Chinese goat populations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Genomic Analysis Reveals Specific Patterns of Homozygosity and Heterozygosity in Inbred Pigs
Animals 2019, 9(6), 314; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060314 - 01 Jun 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The inbred strain of miniature pig is an ideal model for biomedical research due to its high level of homozygosity. In this study, we investigated genetic diversity, relatedness, homozygosity, and heterozygosity using the Porcine SNP60K BeadChip in both inbred and non-inbred Wuzhishan pigs [...] Read more.
The inbred strain of miniature pig is an ideal model for biomedical research due to its high level of homozygosity. In this study, we investigated genetic diversity, relatedness, homozygosity, and heterozygosity using the Porcine SNP60K BeadChip in both inbred and non-inbred Wuzhishan pigs (WZSPs). Our results from multidimensional scaling, admixture, and phylogenetic analyses indicated that the inbred WZSP, with its unique genetic properties, can be utilized as a novel genetic resource for pig genome studies. Inbreeding depression and run of homozygosity (ROH) analyses revealed an average of 61 and 12 ROH regions in the inbred and non-inbred genomes of WZSPs, respectively. By investigating ROH number, length, and distribution across generations, we further briefly studied the impacts of recombination and demography on ROH in these WZSPs. Finally, we explored the SNPs with higher heterozygosity across generations and their potential functional implications in the inbred WZSP. We detected 56 SNPs showing constant heterozygosity with He = 1 across six generations in inbred pigs, while only one was found in the non-inbred population. Among these SNPs, we observed nine SNPs located in swine RefSeq genes, which were found to be involved in signaling and immune processes. Together, our findings indicate that the inbred-specific pattern of homozygosity and heterozygosity in inbred pigs can offer valuable insights for elucidating the mechanisms of inbreeding in farm animals. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Fast and Powerful Empirical Bayes Method for Genome-Wide Association Studies
Animals 2019, 9(6), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060305 - 31 May 2019
Abstract
Linear mixed model (LMM) is an efficient method for GWAS. There are numerous forms of LMM-based GWAS methods. However, improving statistical power and computing efficiency have always been the research hotspots of the LMM-based GWAS methods. Here, we proposed a fast empirical Bayes [...] Read more.
Linear mixed model (LMM) is an efficient method for GWAS. There are numerous forms of LMM-based GWAS methods. However, improving statistical power and computing efficiency have always been the research hotspots of the LMM-based GWAS methods. Here, we proposed a fast empirical Bayes method, which is based on linear mixed models. We call it Fast-EB-LMM in short. The novelty of this method is that it uses a modified kinship matrix accounting for individual relatedness to avoid competition between the locus of interest and its counterpart in the polygene. This property has increased statistical power. We adopted two special algorithms to ease the computational burden: Eigenvalue decomposition and Woodbury matrix identity. Simulation studies showed that Fast-EB-LMM has significantly increased statistical power of marker detection and improved computational efficiency compared with two widely used GWAS methods, EMMA and EB. Real data analyses for two carcass traits in a Chinese Simmental beef cattle population showed that the significant single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and candidate genes identified by Fast-EB-LMM are highly consistent with results of previous studies. We therefore believe that the Fast-EB-LMM method is a reliable and efficient method for GWAS. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Genome-Wide Scan Identifies Selection Signatures in Chinese Wagyu Cattle Using a High-Density SNP Array
Animals 2019, 9(6), 296; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060296 - 30 May 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Selective breeding can lead to genetic diversity and diverse phenotypes in farm animals. Analysis of the genomic regions under selection can provide important insights into the genetic basis of complex traits. In this study, a high-density SNP array was used for analysis of [...] Read more.
Selective breeding can lead to genetic diversity and diverse phenotypes in farm animals. Analysis of the genomic regions under selection can provide important insights into the genetic basis of complex traits. In this study, a high-density SNP array was used for analysis of genome selection signatures in Chinese Wagyu cattle. In total, we obtained 478,903 SNPs and 24,820 no-overlap regions for |iHS| (integrated haplotype score) estimations. Under the threshold of the top 1%, 239 regions were finally identified as candidate selected regions and 162 candidate genes were found based on the UMD3.1 genome assembly. These genes were reported to be associated with fatty acids, such as Bos taurus nitric oxide synthase 1 adaptor protein (NOS1AP), Bos taurus hydroxysteroid 17-beta dehydrogenase 7 (HSD17B7), Bos taurus WD repeat domain 7 (WDR7), Bos taurus ELOVL fatty acid elongase 2 (ELOVL2), Bos taurus calpain 1 (CAPN1), Bos taurus parkin RBR E3 ubiquitin protein ligase (PRKN, also known as PARK2), Bos taurus mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 6 (MAP2K6), meat quality, including Bos taurus ADAM metallopeptidase domain 12 (ADAM12), Bos taurus 5′-aminolevulinate synthase 1 (ALAS1), Bos taurus small integral membrane protein 13 (SMIM13) and Bos taurus potassium two pore domain channel subfamily K member 2 (KCNK2), growth, and developmental traits, such as Bos taurus insulin like growth factor 2 receptor (IGF2R), Bos taurus RAR related orphan receptor A (RORA), Bos taurus fibroblast growth factor 14 (FGF14), Bos taurus paired box 6 (PAX6) and Bos taurus LIM homeobox 6 (LHX6). In addition, we identified several genes that are associated with body size and weight, including Bos taurus sorting nexin 29 (SNX29), Bos taurus zinc finger imprinted 2 (ZIM2), Bos taurus family with sequence similarity 110 member A (FAM110A), immune system, including Bos taurus toll like receptor 9 (TLR9), Bos taurus TAFA chemokine like family member 1 (TAFA1), Bos taurus glutathione peroxidase 8 (putative) (GPX8), Bos taurus interleukin 5 (IL5), Bos taurus PR domain containing 9 (PRDM9), Bos taurus glutamate ionotropic receptor kainate type subunit 2 (GRIK2) and feed intake efficiency, Bos taurus sodium voltage-gated channel alpha subunit 9 (SCN9A), Bos taurus relaxin family peptide/INSL5 receptor 4 (RXFP4), Bos taurus RNA polymerase II associated protein 3 (RPAP3). Moreover, four GO terms of biological regulation (GO:0009987, GO:0008152) and metabolic process (GO:0003824, GO:0005488) were found based on these genes. In addition, we found that 232 candidate regions (~18 Mb) overlapped with the Quantitative trait loci (QTL)regions extracted from cattle QTLdb. Our findings imply that many genes were selected for important traits in Chinese Wagyu cattle. Moreover, these results can contribute to the understanding of the genetic basis of the studied traits during the formation of this population. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Differential Expression of KCNJ12 Gene and Association Analysis of Its Missense Mutation with Growth Traits in Chinese Cattle
Animals 2019, 9(5), 273; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9050273 - 24 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The potassium inwardly rectifying channel, subfamily J, member 12 (KCNJ12) gene is a promising candidate for economic traits because of its crucial roles in myoblast development. Here, a missense mutation (Cys > Arg) was first detected to be located in exon [...] Read more.
The potassium inwardly rectifying channel, subfamily J, member 12 (KCNJ12) gene is a promising candidate for economic traits because of its crucial roles in myoblast development. Here, a missense mutation (Cys > Arg) was first detected to be located in exon 3 of KCNJ12 from three Chinese cattle breeds by DNA-pool sequencing. Then, we performed an association analysis of this single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) with stature in three Chinese cattle populations (n = 820). A significantly positive correlation was revealed by a reduced animal general linear model and the CC genotype was the most favorable in three breeds. Further, we measured the expression profile of the KCNJ12 gene in various cattle tissues and primary bovine skeletal muscle cells. Ubiquitous expression with high abundance in muscle was observed. Further, in primary bovine skeletal muscle cells, the KCNJ12 mRNA expression was gradually up-regulated in differentiation medium (DM) compared with that in growth medium (GM), suggesting that the KCNJ12 gene is involved in bovine myocyte differentiation. Conclusively, the KCNJ12 gene is a functional candidate gene which can be used as a molecular marker for cattle breeding. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Genetic Mutation Analysis of High and Low IgY Chickens by Capture Sequencing
Animals 2019, 9(5), 272; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9050272 - 23 May 2019
Abstract
Based on the results of our previous genome-wide association study (GWAS), a comprehensive analysis on single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) was performed on White Leghorn and Beijing-You chickens with high and low IgY levels in defined genomic regions using the capture-sequencing approach. High and [...] Read more.
Based on the results of our previous genome-wide association study (GWAS), a comprehensive analysis on single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) was performed on White Leghorn and Beijing-You chickens with high and low IgY levels in defined genomic regions using the capture-sequencing approach. High and low IgY chickens showed substantial genetic variations. In total, more than 30,000 SNPs were found in all four chicken groups, among which 1045 were non-synonymous mutations resulting in amino acids alterations. In total, 23,309 Indels were identified. Among the 1169 Indels that were found only in Beijing-You chickens, 702 were shared between high and low IgY chickens compared with the reference genome. There were 1016 Indels specific to the White Leghorn chickens, among which 188 were high IgY-specific, 134 were low IgY-specific and 694 were shared between the high and low IgY chicken lines. Many genetic mutations were located in the regulatory regions of important immunomodulatory genes, including TAP1, TAP2 and BF1. Our findings provide an in-depth understanding of genetic mutations in chicken microchromosomes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Selection Decisions and Trait Preferences for Local and Imported Cattle and Sheep Breeds in Peri-/Urban Livestock Production Systems in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Animals 2019, 9(5), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9050207 - 30 Apr 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Background: Participatory approaches of designing livestock breeding programs for tropical production systems have been extensively applied for rural livestock, whereas the peri-/urban livestock production sector tends to be widely neglected. In order to ensure the viability of the commercial cattle and sheep production [...] Read more.
Background: Participatory approaches of designing livestock breeding programs for tropical production systems have been extensively applied for rural livestock, whereas the peri-/urban livestock production sector tends to be widely neglected. In order to ensure the viability of the commercial cattle and sheep production sector in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, structured breed improvement programs are needed. The study aims to better understand selection decisions of cattle and sheep breeders and their trait preferences for local and imported breeds. Methods: 49 cattle and 31 sheep breeders in peri-/urban areas of the city were approached in personal interviews. Data were analyzed in R version 3.5.1. Results: The main motivation for keeping cattle and sheep was to generate regular cash income through the selling of milk (cattle only) and surplus animals. Some (modern) breeders used imported breeds because of higher production performances. For imported cattle breeds, improved breeding technologies and management were applied to further enhance production outputs. Nevertheless, local livestock breeds were predominantly used due to their good adaptation. Conclusions: Selection decisions and trait preferences for local and imported cattle and sheep breeds were strongly based on performance traits. Especially sheep breeders, but also traditional cattle breeders, did not record performance traits and did not take conscious breeding decisions. Full article
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