Special Issue "Small Ruminant Genetics and Breeding"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Small Ruminants".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Dimitrios Loukovitis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Research Institute of Animal Science, ELGO ‘DEMETER’, General Directorate of Agricultural Research, Paralimni Giannitsa, 58100 Pella, Greece
Interests: genomics; SSRs; population genetics; marker assisted selection; SNPs; QTLs; molecular markers; genomic selection; aquaculture genetics; livestock genetics

Special Issue Information

Small ruminants, such as sheep (Ovis aries) and goats (Capra hircus), were among the first animals to be domesticated, with historical evidence linking them to Western Asia approximately 9000–12,000 years ago. Domesticated sheep and goats provided early humans with a supply of fiber, pelt, meat, and milk. Owing to their small stature and versatility, small ruminants have become steadily important in the global rural economy, especially in the arid and semi-arid regions. Furthermore, the demand for meat and milk in developing countries is constantly increasing, and a sustainable increase in small ruminant production would therefore be desirable in order to meet the demands of the human population on livestock populations and their products.

Genetic improvement can substantially promote the efficiency of animal production, by increasing the performance of small ruminant flocks or populations over time with the use of genetically superior animals. A prerequisite is to select the most desirable breed or breed combination, and to define the breeding objectives.

Over the last two decades, advances in DNA technology have dramatically increased the efficiency and the affordability of gaining genome information, leading to the development of fast, cost-effective, and more accurate methods for the implementation of breeding programs.

For this Special Issue, original research manuscripts covering all aspects of small ruminant genetics, such as population genetics, breed investigation and characterization, quantitative genetics, QTL and marker assisted selection, genomic selection, gene polymorphisms, and genome-wide association studies, are welcome.

Dr. Dimitrios Loukovitis
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • small ruminant
  • genetic improvement
  • population genetics
  • QTL
  • genomic selection
  • molecular markers

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Placental Characteristics Classification of Various Native Turkish Sheep Breeds
Animals 2021, 11(4), 930; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11040930 - 25 Mar 2021
Viewed by 458
Abstract
The aim of this study was to classify placental characteristics of Akkaraman, Morkaraman, Karayaka, Awassi, Malya, and Bafra sheep breeds using the hierarchical clustering method. In total, 240 individual data records were used as experimental material. Placental characteristics such as total cotyledon surface [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to classify placental characteristics of Akkaraman, Morkaraman, Karayaka, Awassi, Malya, and Bafra sheep breeds using the hierarchical clustering method. In total, 240 individual data records were used as experimental material. Placental characteristics such as total cotyledon surface area, small and large cotyledon length, small cotyledon depth, etc. were used as explanatory variables to classify the breeds’ characteristics. Hierarchical clustering was used with the nearest neighbour method with Euclidean distance in order to classify the sheep breeds’ variations. As a result, six breeds were separated into three clusters: the first cluster consisted of Bafra, Karayaka, and Awassi breeds; the second consisted of Akkaraman and Malya breeds; and the third cluster included only the Morkaraman breed. Bafra and Karayaka were pointed as the nearest breeds, with a similarity of 98.7% in terms of placental characteristics. The similarity rate of the Akkaraman and Malya breeds was at a level of 97.5%, whereas it was 96.8% for Bafra, Karayaka, and Awassi breeds. The similarity of Akkaraman, Karayaka, Awassi, Malya, and Bafra sheep breeds was estimated as 95.7%. The overall similarity was found to be at a level of 93.2% among sheep breeds. The outcomes of the study might be useful as a selection tool for reproductivity and can be used to select the breed to be reared. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Genetics and Breeding)
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Article
The LEPR Gene Is Associated with Reproductive Seasonality Traits in Rasa Aragonesa Sheep
Animals 2020, 10(12), 2448; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122448 - 21 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 652
Abstract
The aim of this study was to characterize and identify causative polymorphisms in the leptin receptor (LEPR) gene responsible for the seasonal variation of reproductive traits in sheep. Three reproductive seasonality traits were studied: the total days of anoestrous (TDA), the [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to characterize and identify causative polymorphisms in the leptin receptor (LEPR) gene responsible for the seasonal variation of reproductive traits in sheep. Three reproductive seasonality traits were studied: the total days of anoestrous (TDA), the progesterone cycling months (P4CM) and the oestrous cycling months (OCM). In total, 18 SNPs were detected in 33 ewes with extreme values for TDA and OCM. Six SNPs were non-synonymous substitutions and two of them were predicted in silico as deleterious: rs596133197 and rs403578195. These polymorphisms were then validated in 239 ewes. The SNP rs403578195, located in exon 8 and leading to a change of alanine to glycine (Ala284Gly) in the extracellular domain of the protein, was associated with the OCM trait, being the G allele associated with a decrease of 12 percent of the OCM trait. Haplotype analyses also suggested the involvement of other non-synonymous SNP located in exon 20 (rs405459906). This SNP also produces an amino acid change (Lys1069Glu) in the intracellular domain of the protein and segregates independently of rs403578195. These results confirm for the first time the role of the LEPR gene in sheep reproductive seasonality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Genetics and Breeding)
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Article
Genetic Signatures of Selection for Cashmere Traits in Chinese Goats
Animals 2020, 10(10), 1905; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101905 - 18 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 695
Abstract
Inner Mongolia and Liaoning cashmere goats in China are well-known for their cashmere quality and yield. Thus, they are great models for identifying genomic regions associated with cashmere traits. Herein, 53 Inner Mongolia cashmere goats, Liaoning cashmere goats and Huanghuai goats were genotyped, [...] Read more.
Inner Mongolia and Liaoning cashmere goats in China are well-known for their cashmere quality and yield. Thus, they are great models for identifying genomic regions associated with cashmere traits. Herein, 53 Inner Mongolia cashmere goats, Liaoning cashmere goats and Huanghuai goats were genotyped, and 53,347 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were produced using the Illumina Caprine 50K SNP chip. Additionally, we identified some positively selected SNPs by analyzing Fst and XP-EHH. The top 5% of SNPs had selection signatures. After gene annotation, 222 and 173 candidate genes were identified in Inner Mongolia and Liaoning cashmere goats, respectively. Several genes were related to hair follicle development, such as TRPS1, WDR74, LRRC14, SPTLC3, IGF1R, PADI2, FOXP1, WNT10A and CSN3. Gene enrichment analysis of these cashmere trait-associated genes related 67 enriched signaling pathways that mainly participate in hair follicle development and stem cell pluripotency regulation. Furthermore, we identified 20 overlapping genes that were selected in both cashmere goat breeds. Among these overlapping genes, WNT10A and CSN3, which are associated with hair follicle development, are potentially involved in cashmere production. These findings may improve molecular breeding of cashmere goats in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Ruminant Genetics and Breeding)
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