Special Issue "Biomarkers Involved in Meat and Milk Yield, Composition and Technological Properties in Livestock Species"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Genetics and Genomics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Maria Luisa Dettori
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Sassari, via Vienna 2, 07100 Sassari, Italy
Interests: fatty acids; milk composition; animal production; casein gene cluster; goat, sheep; growth hormone; polymorphism; ovine milk; milk coagulation property; cheese-making property; duplicate GH gene; renneting properties; goat milk; alpha-lactalbumin; autochthonous goat; haplotypes; single nucleotide polymorphism; Mediterranean breeds; Alpine breeds; fat; protein; casein; casein number; growth hormone receptor; association analysis

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Livestock production is constantly evolving and today, more than ever, the food sector calls for increasingly innovative and balanced responses to food production. Sustainable production requires high efficiency, respecting the environment and animal welfare, to offer the consumer a quality product. Many advancements have been made in recent decades, especially for livestock production, but these have not always been tracked by the same results in all the different species, sometimes due to their lower economic value. To optimize production, it is fundamental to use all the available knowledge in order to set up the most appropriate management strategies.

This Special Issue will gather information about biomarkers involved in meat and milk yield, composition (including protein and lipid contents and fatty acid composition), and technological properties (including meat processing and milk transformation into cheese or any other dairy processing). Livestock species of interest in this context are cattle, goat, sheep, buffalo, donkey, camel, etc. Biomarkers include genomic elements such as SNPs, indels, CNVs and any genomic regions associated with the mentioned milk traits, and transcriptomic and proteomic elements, such as transcription factors involved in signaling pathways coordinating milk protein synthesis, as well as microRNAs; metabolomic elements indicators of meat and milk quality are also accepted.

This Special Issue welcomes original research papers and reviews, which contribute up-to-date contents about biomarkers associated with meat quality, milk yield and composition, as well as meat and milk technological properties in livestock species.

Prof. Maria Luisa Dettori
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • milk yield
  • milk composition
  • meat quality
  • technological properties
  • SNP
  • indel
  • CNV
  • biomarker
  • miRNA
  • transcription factor
  • dairy
  • haplotype
  • DNA
  • fatty acid composition

Published Papers (22 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Effects of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in the SLC27A3 Gene on the Nutritional Value of Sheep Milk
Animals 2020, 10(4), 562; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040562 (registering DOI) - 27 Mar 2020
Abstract
The current research was undertaken to use the genetic potential of animals to obtain high-quality dairy products. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in SLC27A3 gene were identified in Zošľachtená valaška sheep using polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP). Correlations between genotypes and milk [...] Read more.
The current research was undertaken to use the genetic potential of animals to obtain high-quality dairy products. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in SLC27A3 gene were identified in Zošľachtená valaška sheep using polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP). Correlations between genotypes and milk composition and nutritional value were analysed This study showed that milk from sheep with TT genotype in the SNP4 locus was characterised by higher (p < 0.01) fat and dry matter content and lower lactose concentration, compared to sheep with AA and TA genotypes, respectively. Moreover, it was found that animals with GG genotype in SNP1 produced milk with higher C18:1n9c, C18:1n7t, CLA, and other unsaturated fatty acids (UFAs) content than sheep with TT. Additionally, milk from animals with CC at the SNP3 locus had significantly higher (p < 0.01) levels of UFAs than milk from sheep with other genotypes in the SNP3. In summary, it may be concluded that milk from animals with TT genotype of SNP4 is characterised by higher fat and dry matter content. Whereas, milk from sheep with GG in SNP1 and with CC in SNP3 is characterised by higher content of UFAs, which increases milk value as material for functional food production. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Detection of rs665862918 (15-bp Indel) of the HIAT1 Gene and its Strong Genetic Effects on Growth Traits in Goats
Animals 2020, 10(2), 358; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10020358 - 23 Feb 2020
Abstract
The hippocampus abundant transcript 1 (HIAT1) gene, which was detected by the genome-wide identification of selective sweeps among elite goat breeds and water buffalo, is proposed to play an important role in meat characteristics. Four indels of the HIAT1 gene selected [...] Read more.
The hippocampus abundant transcript 1 (HIAT1) gene, which was detected by the genome-wide identification of selective sweeps among elite goat breeds and water buffalo, is proposed to play an important role in meat characteristics. Four indels of the HIAT1 gene selected from the NCBI and Ensembl databases were detected via a pooling and sequencing strategy. A 15 bp insertion (rs665862918) in the first intron of HIAT1 was selected and classified on an electrophoresis platform in the Shaanbei white cashmere goat (SBWC) population. The correlation analysis revealed that rs665862918 is significantly highly associated with chest width (p = 1.57 × 10−5), chest depth (p = 8.85 × 10−5), heart girth (p = 1.05 × 10−7), body length (p = 0.022), and height at hip cross (p = 0.023) in the SBWC population (n = 1013). Further analysis revealed that individuals with a genotype insertion/insertion (II) of the rs665862918 locus exhibited better growth trait performance than individuals with an insertion/deletion (ID) or deletion/deletion (DD). These findings verify that HIAT1 affects the body size of goats and that rs665862918 could be a potential molecular marker for growth traits in goat breeding. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Frequencies Evaluation of β-Casein Gene Polymorphisms in Dairy Cows Reared in Central Italy
Animals 2020, 10(2), 252; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10020252 - 05 Feb 2020
Abstract
The majority of proteins in cow’s milk are caseins, which occur in four groups (α-s1, α-s2, β, and k) encoded by different genes (CSN1S1, CSN1S2, CSN2, and CSN3, respectively). In this study, we focused on the β-casein allele [...] Read more.
The majority of proteins in cow’s milk are caseins, which occur in four groups (α-s1, α-s2, β, and k) encoded by different genes (CSN1S1, CSN1S2, CSN2, and CSN3, respectively). In this study, we focused on the β-casein allele variants A1 and A2 due to their influence on milk’s technological characteristics and human health. Digestion of the β-casein variant A1 leads to the formation of β-casomorphin 7 (BCM-7), a bioactive peptide that has been suggested to be a possible cause of various human diseases and associated with low milk digestibility. The potential negative role of the β-casein variant A1 in human health has stimulated the planning of cattle breeding programs based on genetic selection to increase the frequency of the A2 variant, which is associated with increased milk digestibility. The aim of this work was to evaluate the frequencies of the different β-casein variants in Italian Holstein Friesian dairy cows from cattle farms located in central Italy to select a population of A2 homozygous animals. β-casein genotypes were identified by evaluating the presence of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the CSN2 gene using PCR and sequencing analysis. The frequency of the desirable β-casein variant A2 in the studied bovine population was 0.61. The frequency of the undesirable A1 variant in the studied bovine population was 0.30. The frequency of the A2 allele was higher than expected for the breed; therefore, genetic selection for the A2 variant in these animals could be achieved in a fairly short time using A2 homozygous bulls. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Variation in the Lipin 1 Gene Is Associated with Birth Weight and Selected Carcass Traits in New Zealand Romney Sheep
Animals 2020, 10(2), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10020237 - 03 Feb 2020
Abstract
Lipin 1 plays an important role in lipid metabolism. In this study; we searched for variation in the ovine lipin 1 gene (LPIN1) in three gene regions (a 5′ non-coding region; a region containing an alternatively spliced exon in intron 4; [...] Read more.
Lipin 1 plays an important role in lipid metabolism. In this study; we searched for variation in the ovine lipin 1 gene (LPIN1) in three gene regions (a 5′ non-coding region; a region containing an alternatively spliced exon in intron 4; and a region containing coding exon 6) using polymerase chain reaction-single strand conformation polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) analysis. The greatest amount of alleles was found in coding exon 6; with five sequences being detected. The effect of variation in this exon was investigated in 242 New Zealand Romney lambs derived from 12 sire-lines. The presence of variant E3 was associated with a decrease in birth weight (p = 0.005) and the proportion of leg yield (p = 0.045), but with an increase in hot carcass weight (p = 0.032) and the proportion of loin yield (p = 0.014). The presence of variant B3 was associated with an increased pre-weaning growth rate (p = 0.041), whereas the presence of variant C3 was associated with an increase in shoulder yield (p < 0.001). These results suggest that ovine LPIN1 variation may have value as a genetic marker for improving meat production and carcass traits. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Novel SNPs in Alpha-Lactalbumin Gene Effects on Lactation Traits in Chinese Holstein Dairy Cows
Animals 2020, 10(1), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010060 - 29 Dec 2019
Abstract
Alpha-lactalbumin (α-LA) is a major whey protein in bovine and other mammalian milk, which regulates synthesis of lactose. Little is known about its genetic polymorphism and whether can be used as a potential marker for dairy ingredients, milk yield traits, and milk properties. [...] Read more.
Alpha-lactalbumin (α-LA) is a major whey protein in bovine and other mammalian milk, which regulates synthesis of lactose. Little is known about its genetic polymorphism and whether can be used as a potential marker for dairy ingredients, milk yield traits, and milk properties. To investigate its polymorphisms and their relationship with milk lactation traits in Chinese Holstein dairy cows, single-strand conformation polymorphism method (PCR-SSCP) and direct sequencing method were used to mark the α-LA gene SNPs. AA (0.7402) and AB (0.2598) genotypes were screened out by PCR-SSCP bands analysis in two independent populations. Direct sequencing revealed that there is one SNP at 1847th (T/C) bp in noncoding region of α-LA gene with highly polymorphic (0.5 < PIC = 0.5623 or 0.5822), of which T is in AA genotype while C in AB. Association analysis also showed that lactose content (p < 0.05) was negatively correlated with fat and protein contents within subgroup, indicating that the SNPs (1847th, T/C) in α-LA gene could be used as a novel potential molecular marker for lactation traits in Chinese Holstein dairy cows. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Functional 3′ UTR Polymorphism of FADS2 Affects Cow Milk Composition through Modifying Mir-744 Binding
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1090; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121090 - 06 Dec 2019
Abstract
This study determined the associations of FADS2 c.1571G>A with milk FAs content and revealed that cows with the GG genotype had improved levels of delta-6 desaturase substrates (linoleic acid, C18:2n-6; p < 0.001) and decreased levels of desaturase products (gamma-linolenic acid, C18:3n-6; p [...] Read more.
This study determined the associations of FADS2 c.1571G>A with milk FAs content and revealed that cows with the GG genotype had improved levels of delta-6 desaturase substrates (linoleic acid, C18:2n-6; p < 0.001) and decreased levels of desaturase products (gamma-linolenic acid, C18:3n-6; p < 0.001), indicating a reduction in FADS2 expression or delta-6 desaturase activity caused by this polymorphism. Computer alignment demonstrated that c.1571G>A occurred within a potential miR-744 binding site. When the c.1571G allele was present, the luciferase activity of reporter constructs was significantly suppressed by miR-744, while no such effect was observed with the A allele. Overexpression of miR-744 in bovine mammary epithelial cells (with the 1571GG genotype) downregulated FADS2 expression at both mRNA and protein levels. In contrast, inhibition of endogenous miR-744 with a specific inhibitor dramatically upregulated FADS2 expression. Taken together, these lines of evidence indicated that the c.1571A minor allele abolished the ability of miR-744 to bind FADS2, with a consequent increase in FADS2 expression levels and synthesis of omega-6 LC-PUFAs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Genomic Prediction and Association Analysis with Models Including Dominance Effects for Important Traits in Chinese Simmental Beef Cattle
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1055; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121055 - 01 Dec 2019
Abstract
Non-additive effects play important roles in determining genetic changes with regard to complex traits; however, such effects are usually ignored in genetic evaluation and quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping analysis. In this study, a two-component genome-based restricted maximum likelihood (GREML) was applied to [...] Read more.
Non-additive effects play important roles in determining genetic changes with regard to complex traits; however, such effects are usually ignored in genetic evaluation and quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping analysis. In this study, a two-component genome-based restricted maximum likelihood (GREML) was applied to obtain the additive genetic variance and dominance variance for carcass weight (CW), dressing percentage (DP), meat percentage (MP), average daily gain (ADG), and chuck roll (CR) in 1233 Simmental beef cattle. We estimated predictive abilities using additive models (genomic best linear unbiased prediction (GBLUP) and BayesA) and dominance models (GBLUP-D and BayesAD). Moreover, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) considering both additive and dominance effects were performed using a multi-locus mixed-model (MLMM) approach. We found that the estimated dominance variances accounted for 15.8%, 16.1%, 5.1%, 4.2%, and 9.7% of the total phenotypic variance for CW, DP, MP, ADG, and CR, respectively. Compared with BayesA and GBLUP, we observed 0.5–1.1% increases in predictive abilities of BayesAD and 0.5–0.9% increases in predictive abilities of GBLUP-D, respectively. Notably, we identified a dominance association signal for carcass weight within RIMS2, a candidate gene that has been associated with carcass weight in beef cattle. Our results suggest that dominance effects yield variable degrees of contribution to the total genetic variance of the studied traits in Simmental beef cattle. BayesAD and GBLUP-D are convenient models for the improvement of genomic prediction, and the detection of QTLs using a dominance model shows promise for use in GWAS in cattle. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Geographic Region on the Composition of Bactrian Camel Milk in Mongolia
Animals 2019, 9(11), 890; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110890 - 01 Nov 2019
Abstract
Camel milk is considered as an essential source of nutrition for desert people. However, few studies have investigated how geography affects Bactrian camel milk in Mongolia. In this study, we evaluated the differences in gross composition, fatty acid composition, and amino acid composition [...] Read more.
Camel milk is considered as an essential source of nutrition for desert people. However, few studies have investigated how geography affects Bactrian camel milk in Mongolia. In this study, we evaluated the differences in gross composition, fatty acid composition, and amino acid composition among Bactrian camel milk samples collected from 102 Bactrian camels in five different Mongolian regions. The proportion of long-chain fatty acids, out of total fatty acids, was high in all samples of Bactrian camel milk. The primary fatty acids detected in the samples were palmitic acid (23.99–30.72%), oleic acid (17.21–24.24%), and stearic acid (11.13–16.49%), while the dominant amino acids were leucine, lysine, valine, and aspartic acid. Cysteine was the least common amino acid detected in the Bactrian camel milk samples. Considerable differences in the fatty acid and amino acid compositions were observed among Bactrian camel milk from different regions of Mongolia. The findings suggest that geography strongly affects the composition of camel milk. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Two Novel SNPs in RET Gene Are Associated with Cattle Body Measurement Traits
Animals 2019, 9(10), 836; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100836 - 21 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The rearrangement of the transfection (RET) gene, which mediates the functions of the ganglion in the gastrointestinal tract, plays an important role in the development of the gastrointestinal nervous system. Therefore, the RET gene is a potential factor influencing animal body [...] Read more.
The rearrangement of the transfection (RET) gene, which mediates the functions of the ganglion in the gastrointestinal tract, plays an important role in the development of the gastrointestinal nervous system. Therefore, the RET gene is a potential factor influencing animal body measurement. The aim of this study was to reveal the significant genetic variations in the bovine RET gene and investigate the relationship between genotypes and body measurement in two Chinese cattle breeds (Qinchuan and Nanyang cattle). In this study, two SNPs (c.1407A>G and c.1425C>G) were detected in the exon 7 of RET gene by sequencing. For the SNP1 and SNP2, the GG genotype was significantly associated with body height, hip height, and chest circumference in Qinchuan cattle (p < 0.05). Individuals with an AG-CC genotype showed the lowest value of all body measurement in both breeds. Our results demonstrate that the polymorphisms in the bovine RET gene were significantly associated with body measurement, which could be used as DNA marker on the marker-assisted selection (MAS) and improve the performance of beef cattle. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Validation Study of SNPs in CAPN1-CAST Genes on the Tenderness of Muscles (Longissimus thoracis and Semimembranosus) in Hanwoo (Korean Cattle)
Animals 2019, 9(9), 691; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090691 - 17 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Previous studies demonstrated that polymorphisms in the μ-calpain (CAPN1) and calpastatin (CAST) genes had significant effects on meat tenderness in different cattle populations. The aim of this study was to validate the potential association of seven single nucleotide polymorphisms [...] Read more.
Previous studies demonstrated that polymorphisms in the μ-calpain (CAPN1) and calpastatin (CAST) genes had significant effects on meat tenderness in different cattle populations. The aim of this study was to validate the potential association of seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) harbored in these two candidate genes with meat tenderness in the Longissimus thoracis (LT) and Semimembranosus (SM) muscles. A total of 1000 animals were genotyped using TaqMan SNP genotyping arrays, and the meat tenderness of two muscle (LT and SM at 7 days post-slaughter) was assessed based on Warner-Bratzler WBSF (WBSF) testing. We observed significant associations of the CAPN1:c.580T>C, CAPN1:c.658T>C and CAST:c.1985G>C polymorphisms (p < 0.05) with the WBSF values in the LT and SM muscles. Additive effects of the C allele in CAPN1:c.580T>C and CAST:c.1985G>C were associated with an increase of 0.16 and 0.15 kg, and 0.08 and 0.26 kg WBSF in the LT and SM, respectively; CAPN1:c.658T>C had negative effects on the WBSFs. Furthermore, six reconstructed haplotypes demonstrated significant associations with WBSF values (p < 0.05). In conclusion, the significant associations identified between the SNPs in CAPN1, CAST and WBSF values could be utilized in marker-assisted selection programs in order to improve the beef tenderness of Hanwoo cattle. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Novel 13 bp Deletion within the NR6A1 Gene Is Significantly Associated with Growth Traits in Donkeys
Animals 2019, 9(9), 681; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090681 - 14 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Nuclear receptor subfamily 6, group A, member 1 (NR6A1), as an important member of the nuclear receptor family, plays an important role in regulating growth, metabolism, and differentiation of embryonic stem cells. For this reason, the NR6A1 gene is considered to be a [...] Read more.
Nuclear receptor subfamily 6, group A, member 1 (NR6A1), as an important member of the nuclear receptor family, plays an important role in regulating growth, metabolism, and differentiation of embryonic stem cells. For this reason, the NR6A1 gene is considered to be a promising candidate for economic traits and was found to be associated with body size traits in many livestock. However, no studies have been conducted on NR6A1 in donkeys so far. Thus, in this research, we focused on donkeys and identified a 13 bp deletion in intron-1 of the NR6A1 gene among 408 individuals from Guanzhong and Dezhou donkeys using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Three genotypes were identified, namely II, ID, and DD. The association analysis indicated that the body lengths and body heights5f genotype II individuals were significantly different to those of genotype ID in Dezhou donkeys. Conclusively, the 13 bp deletion was associated with growth traits in both Guanzhong donkeys and Dezhou donkeys, indicating that the NR6A1 gene could be a possible candidate gene in marker-assisted selection for donkey breeding programs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Does the Acknowledgement of αS1-Casein Genotype Affect the Estimation of Genetic Parameters and Prediction of Breeding Values for Milk Yield and Composition Quality-Related Traits in Murciano-Granadina?
Animals 2019, 9(9), 679; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090679 - 13 Sep 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
A total of 2090 lactation records for 710 Murciano-Granadina goats were collected during the years 2005–2016 and analyzed to investigate the influence of the αS1-CN genotype on milk yield and components (protein, fat, and dry matter). Goats were genetically evaluated, including and excluding [...] Read more.
A total of 2090 lactation records for 710 Murciano-Granadina goats were collected during the years 2005–2016 and analyzed to investigate the influence of the αS1-CN genotype on milk yield and components (protein, fat, and dry matter). Goats were genetically evaluated, including and excluding the αS1-CN genotype, in order to assess its repercussion on the efficiency of breeding models. Despite no significant differences being found for milk yield, fat and dry matter heritabilities, protein production heritability considerably increased after aS1-CN genotype was included in the breeding model (+0.23). Standard errors suggest that the consideration of genotype may improve the model’s efficiency, translating into more accurate genetic parameters and breeding values (PBV). Genetic correlations ranged from −0.15 to −0.01 between protein/dry matter and milk yield/protein and fat content, while phenotypic correlations were −0.02 for milk/protein and −0.01 for milk/fat or protein content. For males, the broadest range for reliability (RAP) (0.45–0.71) was similar to that of females (0.37–0.86) when the genotype was included. PBV ranges broadened while the maximum remained similar (0.61–0.77) for males and females (0.62–0.81) when the genotype was excluded, respectively. Including the αS1-CN genotype can increase production efficiency, milk profitability, milk yield, fat, protein and dry matter contents in Murciano-Granadina dairy breeding programs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
MicroRNA-152 Promotes Slow-Twitch Myofiber Formation via Targeting Uncoupling Protein-3 Gene
Animals 2019, 9(9), 669; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090669 - 10 Sep 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
The differences of pork quality characteristics among different pig breeds mainly came from the differences in myofiber type compositions. Growing evidence indicated the key role of miRNAs in myofiber specification. In the present study, we found that miR-152 is more abundant in the [...] Read more.
The differences of pork quality characteristics among different pig breeds mainly came from the differences in myofiber type compositions. Growing evidence indicated the key role of miRNAs in myofiber specification. In the present study, we found that miR-152 is more abundant in the slow-twitch myofiber-enriched muscles. However, its role in myofiber type transformation and myogenesis is largely unknown. Overexpression of miR-152 in porcine myotubes promoted the formation of slow-twitch myofibers and myogenesis. While, inhibition of miR-152 expression showed the opposite effect to miR-152 mimics transfection. The luciferase reporter analysis confirmed that miR-152 straightly targets the 3′-untranslated region (3’-UTR) of uncoupling protein 3 (UCP3) to cause its post-transcriptional inhibition in the protein level. The knockdown of UCP3 by siRNA showed the similar effect of miR-152 on myofiber type transition. Furthermore, the rescue experiment in the porcine myotube transfected with miR-152 mimics or/and UCP3 overexpression plasmid with or without the 3’UTR revealed that UCP3 mediates the action of miR-152 in slow-twitch myofiber formation. Taken together, our findings proposed a novel molecular mechanism through which miR-152 epigenetically regulates meat quality via promoting slow-twitch myofiber formation and skeletal myogenesis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Relationships between Hha1 Calpastatin Gene Polymorphism, Growth Performance, and Meat Characteristics of Awassi Sheep
Animals 2019, 9(9), 667; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090667 - 07 Sep 2019
Abstract
Advances in molecular genetics have allowed the identification of genes that can enhance livestock production. The aim of this study was to investigate possible relationships between the calpastatin (CAST) Hha1 gene polymorphisms and growth performance, carcass characteristics, and meat quality in Awassi [...] Read more.
Advances in molecular genetics have allowed the identification of genes that can enhance livestock production. The aim of this study was to investigate possible relationships between the calpastatin (CAST) Hha1 gene polymorphisms and growth performance, carcass characteristics, and meat quality in Awassi sheep. A total of 87 blood samples were collected from two-week-old Awassi ram lambs. The amplification of the CAST Hha1 gene yielded a fragment of 622 bp. Three CAST genotypes were found in Awassi sheep: MM for two fragments (385 bp and 281 bp), MN for three fragments (622 bp, 385 bp, and 281 bp), and NN for only one fragment (622 bp). The M and N allele frequencies of the CAST Hha1 genotypes were 0.765 and 0.235, respectively, while the genotypic frequencies of MM, MN, and NN were 0.586, 0.356, and 0.057, respectively. Based on CAST Hha1 gene polymorphisms, three groups of lambs (MM: n = 8; MN: n = 6; and NN: n = 3 genotypes) were subjected to a fattening period of 70 days to investigate growth performance and meat characteristics. Only the final body weight and longissimus muscle width were significantly different between the three genotypes, while no significant differences were detected in any other carcass characteristics and meat quality parameters. In this study, new variants were observed in CAST using the Hha1 restriction site, potentially assisting in Awassi sheep breeding and selection programs to improve final body weight and longissimus muscle width. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Transcriptional Regulation of the Bovine Fatty Acid Transport Protein 1 Gene by Krüppel-Like Factors 15
Animals 2019, 9(9), 654; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090654 - 05 Sep 2019
Abstract
Oleic acid is a major monounsaturated fatty acid, which accounts for about 33% of the fatty acid content in beef and is considered to have the least negative effect on serum cholesterol levels. Fatty acid transport protein 1 (FATP1), an integral membrane protein [...] Read more.
Oleic acid is a major monounsaturated fatty acid, which accounts for about 33% of the fatty acid content in beef and is considered to have the least negative effect on serum cholesterol levels. Fatty acid transport protein 1 (FATP1), an integral membrane protein that facilitates long-chain fatty acid (LCFA) influx, is involved in the genetic network for oleic acid synthesis in beef. Its expression exhibits significant positive correlations with intramuscular fat (IMF) content in the longissimus thoracis. However, the expression mechanism of SLC27A1 or FATP1 is still unclear. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms involved in bovine SLC27A1 regulation, we cloned and characterized the promoter region of SLC27A1. By applying 5′-rapid amplification of cDNA end analysis, we identified two alternative splice variants of this gene. Using a series of 5′ deletion promoter plasmids in luciferase reporter assays, we found that the core promoter was 96 base pairs upstream from the transcription initiation site. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay combined with a site-directed mutation experiment demonstrated that KLF15 binding to the promoter region drives the SLC27A1 transcription. KLF15 plays an essential role in adipogenesis and skeletal muscle lipid flux. Thus, these results might provide further information on the regulatory roles of SLC27A1 gene in mediating the lipid composition in beef. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Variation in the Fatty Acid Synthase Gene (FASN) and Its Association with Milk Traits in Gannan Yaks
Animals 2019, 9(9), 613; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090613 - 27 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Fatty acid synthase (FASN) is an enzyme involved in the synthesis of fatty acids (FA) and plays a central role in de novo lipogenesis in mammals. This study was conducted to ascertain the relative level of expression of the FASN gene (FASN [...] Read more.
Fatty acid synthase (FASN) is an enzyme involved in the synthesis of fatty acids (FA) and plays a central role in de novo lipogenesis in mammals. This study was conducted to ascertain the relative level of expression of the FASN gene (FASN) in tissues from the yak (Bos grunniens), and to search for variation in two regions of yak FASN using polymerase chain reaction single-stranded conformational polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) analyses; it also ascertains whether that variation is associated with yak milk traits. The gene was found to be expressed in twelve tissues, with the highest expression detected in the mammary gland, followed by subcutaneous fat tissue. Two regions of the gene were analyzed in 290 Gannan yaks: A region spanning exon 24-intron 24 and a region spanning exon 34. These regions both produced two PCR-SSCP patterns, which, upon sequencing, represented different DNA sequences. This sequence variation resulted from the presence of three nucleotide substitutions: c.4296+38C/T (intron 24), c.5884A/G, and c.5903G/A, both located in exon 34. The exon 34 substitutions would result in the amino acid substitutions p.Thr1962Ala and p.Gly1968Glu if expressed. Four haplotypes spanning from the exon 24-intron 24 region to exon 34 were identified. Of these, two were common (A1-A2 and B1-A2), and two were rare (A1-B2 and B1-B2) in the yaks investigated. The presence of A1-A2 was associated with an increase in milk fat content (p = 0.050) and total milk solid content (p = 0.037), while diplotype A1-A2/B1-A2 had a higher milk fat content (p = 0.038) than the other diplotypes. This study suggests that further characterization of the FASN gene might provide for an improved understanding of milk traits in yaks. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Genome-Wide SNPs and InDels Characteristics of Three Chinese Cattle Breeds
Animals 2019, 9(9), 596; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090596 - 22 Aug 2019
Abstract
We report genome characterization of three native Chinese cattle breeds discovering ~34.3 M SNPs and ~3.8 M InDels using whole genome resequencing. On average, 10.4 M SNPs were shared amongst the three cattle breeds, whereas, 3.0 M, 4.9 M and 5.8 M were [...] Read more.
We report genome characterization of three native Chinese cattle breeds discovering ~34.3 M SNPs and ~3.8 M InDels using whole genome resequencing. On average, 10.4 M SNPs were shared amongst the three cattle breeds, whereas, 3.0 M, 4.9 M and 5.8 M were specific to LQ, WN and WS breeds, respectively. Gene ontology (GO)analysis revealed four immune response-related GO terms were over represented in all samples, while two immune signaling pathways were significantly over-represented in WS cattle. Altogether, we found immune related genes (PGLYRP2, ROMO1, FYB2, CD46, TSC1) in the three cattle breeds. Our study provides insights into the genetic basis of Chinese indicine adaptation to the tropic and subtropical environment, and provides a valuable resource for further investigations of genetic characteristics of the three breeds. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Growth Performance and Meat Characteristics of the First Awassi–Rambouillet Callipyge Backcross
Animals 2019, 9(8), 517; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9080517 - 01 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The Awassi breed is desirable due to its resilient traits, but shows poor lean meat content on the carcass; the callipyge mutation may enhance growth and meat characteristics. The first backcross of callipyge Awassi–Rambouillet (CRAW) lambs was generated by mating Awassi ewes with [...] Read more.
The Awassi breed is desirable due to its resilient traits, but shows poor lean meat content on the carcass; the callipyge mutation may enhance growth and meat characteristics. The first backcross of callipyge Awassi–Rambouillet (CRAW) lambs was generated by mating Awassi ewes with heterozygous F1 (50 % Awassi and 50 % Rambouillet) rams for the callipyge mutation. A fattening trial with carriers of CLPG (CRAW), non-carriers (RAW), and Awassi (AW) ram lambs was conducted for 94 days and growth and meat characteristic parameters were recorded. Final body weight, average daily gain (ADG), feed conversion ratio, and dry matter intake, but not initial body weight, were greater in CRAW and RAW lambs as compared to AW lambs; hot and cold carcass, dressing percentage, and shoulder, rack, and loin weights were greater in CRAW vs. AW but not RAW lambs. Leg cuts were heavier in CRAW vs. both RAW and AW lambs; intermuscular and subcutaneous fat percentages were greater in CRAW as compared to AW but not RAW lambs. Non-carcass components showed kidney fat, kidney, liver and testes weights higher in CRAW lambs as compared to AW lambs, but these parameters were similar to those of RAW lambs. There were no differences in fat tail weight. Further, CRAW lambs had higher shear force and water holding capacity than RAW and AW lambs, while cooking loss was the lowest in CRAW lambs. In conclusion, the callipyge mutation with 25% Rambouillet genes can provide efficient improvements in growth and meat characteristics, with the exception of tenderness in Awassi sheep. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Leptin Gene Polymorphism in Goats Fed with Diet at Different Energy Level: Effects on Feed Intake, Milk Traits, Milk Fatty Acids Composition, and Metabolic State
Animals 2019, 9(7), 424; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070424 - 06 Jul 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The study investigated the effects of a polymorphism at the LEP gene intron 1 microsatellite region and its interaction with diet energy level on feed intake, milk traits, milk fatty acid composition, and metabolic state in goats. Sixteen Girgentana lactating goats at mid-lactation, [...] Read more.
The study investigated the effects of a polymorphism at the LEP gene intron 1 microsatellite region and its interaction with diet energy level on feed intake, milk traits, milk fatty acid composition, and metabolic state in goats. Sixteen Girgentana lactating goats at mid-lactation, selected on the basis of their genotype (8 goats homozygous 266 bp/266 bp, L genotype; 8 goats heterozygous 266 bp/264 bp, H genotype), were fed ad libitum according to a change-over design, with two diets at different energy levels reached with different hay inclusion: low energy diet (LE)—100% of hay; and high energy diet (HE)—65% of hay. No differences in milk yield and composition or in dry matter intake were found between leptin genotypes or between diets. Leptin genotype had no effect on plasma metabolite concentrations. The differences between diets were recorded for plasma β-hydroxybutyric acid (BHBA) concentrations with higher (p = 0.01) values for the HE compared to the LE diet (0.44 vs. 0.24 mmol/L, respectively). Nonesterified fatty acid (NEFA) values seem to indicate a positive energy balance in goats. No interaction genotype per diet was evident for most of the studied parameters. Fatty acid composition was strongly influenced by LEP genotype: L goats, compared to H goats, showed higher levels of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and 14:1/14:0 desaturation index; lower levels of saturated fatty acids (SFA); and a more favorable atherogenic index. These results seem to suggest an improvement of health characteristics of milk with the L genotype. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Fatty Acid Elongase 7 (ELOVL7) Plays a Role in the Synthesis of Long-Chain Unsaturated Fatty Acids in Goat Mammary Epithelial Cells
Animals 2019, 9(6), 389; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060389 - 25 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In humans, fatty acid elongase 7 (ELOVL7) plays a role in synthesis of long-chain saturated fatty acids. Whether ELOVL7 protein plays a role in ruminants is unclear. The transcript abundance of ELOVL7 in goat mammary tissue was assessed at three stages of lactation. [...] Read more.
In humans, fatty acid elongase 7 (ELOVL7) plays a role in synthesis of long-chain saturated fatty acids. Whether ELOVL7 protein plays a role in ruminants is unclear. The transcript abundance of ELOVL7 in goat mammary tissue was assessed at three stages of lactation. Results showed that ELOVL7 had the highest expression in the dry period compared with peak and late lactation period. Results revealed that ELOVL7 overexpression was correlated with lower expression in diacylglycerol O-acyltransferase 2 (DGAT2) and stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1), and had no significant effect on triacylglycerol concentration. Overexpression of ELOVL7 significantly decreased the concentration of palmitoleic (C16:1n7) and oleic (C18:1n9) acid, and increased the concentration of vaccenic (C18:1n7) and linoleic (C18:2) acid. Overexpression of ELOVL7 significantly upregulated the elongation index of C16:1 in goat epithelial mammary cells (GMEC), but had a minor effect on that of palmitate (C16:0). Knockdown of ELOVL7 decreased mRNA expression of fatty acid binding protein 3 (FABP3) and fatty acid desaturase 2 (FADS2) and had a minor effect on triacylglycerol concentration; however, it increased concentration of C18:1n9 in GMEC. The elongation indices of C16:0 and C16:1 did not differ due to knockdown of ELOVL7. The minor change for the C16:0 and stearate (C18:0) was observed after activation of ELOVL7, suggesting the two fatty acids are not the preferential substrates of ELOVL7 in cultured GMEC. However, changes in C18:1n9 and C18:2 after overexpression or knockdown of ELOVL7 indicated a biological functional role of ELOVL7. Collectively, our data highlighted a role of ELOVL7 in long-chain unsaturated fatty acid elongation in goat mammary epithelial cells. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect and Interaction of β-Lactoglobulin, Kappa Casein, and Prolactin Genes on Milk Production and Composition of Awassi Sheep
Animals 2019, 9(6), 382; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060382 - 21 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
A participatory animal-breeding program was applied to 9 commercial Awassi sheep flocks in Jordan. This study aimed to assess the influence of Beta-lactoglobulin (β-LG), Prolactin (PRL), and Kappa casein (CSN3) genes, genotypes and their interaction on milk [...] Read more.
A participatory animal-breeding program was applied to 9 commercial Awassi sheep flocks in Jordan. This study aimed to assess the influence of Beta-lactoglobulin (β-LG), Prolactin (PRL), and Kappa casein (CSN3) genes, genotypes and their interaction on milk production and composition traits of 167 genotyped Awassi ewes via Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) followed by sequencing. Allele frequencies for the two variants were 0.42 and 0.58 for β-LG, 0.82 and 0.18 for PRL, and 0.92 and 0.08 for CSN3. No association was found among β-LG and CSN3 polymorphic genotypes with milk production traits. However, ewes with PRL AA genotype showed higher milk production, β-LG AB was associated with lowest fat%, high solid not fat (SNF)%, protein%, and lactose%. β-LG BB was associated with highest milk density. PRL, β-LG, and CSN3 polymorphic genotypes were differentially associated with milk production and component traits. Furthermore, β-LG × PRL interaction showed the highest milk production and fat%; β-LG × PRL recorded the highest SNF%, protein%, lactose%, and milk density, while the PRL × CSN3 had the highest fat% and SNF%. The enhancing effects of these gene interactions can be incorporated in Awassi breeding programs to improve milk production and composition. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Functional Analysis of Genes Involved in Glycerolipids Biosynthesis (GPAT1 and GPAT2) in Pigs
Animals 2019, 9(6), 308; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060308 - 31 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT) enzymes catalyze the first step in triacylglycerol (TAG) synthesis. Genes that belong to the GPAT family are potential genetic markers for intramuscular fat content (IMF) content and thus meat quality. The objective of this study was to analyze the expression [...] Read more.
Glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT) enzymes catalyze the first step in triacylglycerol (TAG) synthesis. Genes that belong to the GPAT family are potential genetic markers for intramuscular fat content (IMF) content and thus meat quality. The objective of this study was to analyze the expression of GPAT1 and GPAT2 genes in musculus longissimus lumborum, liver and subcutaneous fat of various breeds of pigs. Furthermore, correlations between the genes’ expression abundance and utility traits, meat quality and meat texture parameters of pork were determined. The results obtained showed significant differences in the mRNA level of GPAT1 between analyzed tissues and breeds. The highest expression of GPAT1 gene was observed in liver tissue (p ≤ 0.01). Furthermore, significantly higher GPAT1 transcript level in the m. longissimus lumborum was observed for duroc in comparison to other analyzed breeds (p ≤ 0.05). Expression of the GPAT2 gene was shown only in the liver tissues, however statistically significant differences between the analyzed breeds were not observed. Correlation analysis confirmed the highest association between GPAT2 gene expression level in liver and cohesiveness and resilience traits of m. longissimus lumborum (p ≤ 0.01). Full article
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