Special Issue "Genetics and Genomics Applied to Livestock Production"

A special issue of Genes (ISSN 2073-4425). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Genetics and Genomics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Marina Fortes
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences,The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld 4072, Australia
Interests: genomics; cattle industries; livestock science; animal genetics; biology of reproduction

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Genetics and genomics applied to livestock has transformed animal production in the past decades. Still, there is a lot of work ahead. The demand for animal products is rising with a growing global population. At the same time, livestock industries face the challenges imposed by climate change. The environmental footprint of livestock production is of great concern. In the near future, livestock systems will have to produce more while mitigating its impact. A more efficient industry, in terms of water use, nitrogen fixation, and off-setting greenhouse gas emissions has a future. Some animals are naturally more efficient than others, due to favourable genetics. For example, some cows emit less methane than others. Understanding the heritability, the molecular mechanisms and how to manipulate the genome to create the most efficient livestock species will benefit us all. This Special Issue in genes on “Genetics and Genomics Applied to Livestock Production” will highlight how genomics technologies are paving the way to improve livestock systems, address environmental and animal welfare concerns. The Issue will provide an overview of recent developments in this field of research, including critical perspectives on current and upcoming challenges.

Dr. Marina Fortes
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • livestock genomics
  • methane emissions
  • environmental footprint
  • carbon neutral animal products
  • heat tolerance and animal welfare

Published Papers (18 papers)

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Research

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Article
Comparative Transcriptome Profiling of Skeletal Muscle from Black Muscovy Duck at Different Growth Stages Using RNA-seq
Genes 2020, 11(10), 1228; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11101228 - 20 Oct 2020
Viewed by 691
Abstract
In China, the production for duck meat is second only to that of chicken, and the demand for duck meat is also increasing. However, there is still unclear on the internal mechanism of regulating skeletal muscle growth and development in duck. This study [...] Read more.
In China, the production for duck meat is second only to that of chicken, and the demand for duck meat is also increasing. However, there is still unclear on the internal mechanism of regulating skeletal muscle growth and development in duck. This study aimed to identity candidate genes related to growth of duck skeletal muscle and explore the potential regulatory mechanism. RNA-seq technology was used to compare the transcriptome of skeletal muscles in black Muscovy ducks at different developmental stages (day 17, 21, 27, 31, and 34 of embryos and postnatal 6-month-olds). The SNPs and InDels of black Muscovy ducks at different growth stages were mainly in “INTRON”, “SYNONYMOUS_CODING”, “UTR_3_PRIME”, and “DOWNSTREAM”. The average number of AS in each sample was 37,267, mainly concentrated in TSS and TTS. Besides, a total of 19 to 5377 DEGs were detected in each pairwise comparison. Functional analysis showed that the DEGs were mainly involved in the processes of cell growth, muscle development, and cellular activities (junction, migration, assembly, differentiation, and proliferation). Many of DEGs were well known to be related to growth of skeletal muscle in black Muscovy duck, such as MyoG, FBXO1, MEF2A, and FoxN2. KEGG pathway analysis identified that the DEGs were significantly enriched in the pathways related to the focal adhesion, MAPK signaling pathway and regulation of the actin cytoskeleton. Some DEGs assigned to these pathways were potential candidate genes inducing the difference in muscle growth among the developmental stages, such as FAF1, RGS8, GRB10, SMYD3, and TNNI2. Our study identified several genes and pathways that may participate in the regulation of skeletal muscle growth in black Muscovy duck. These results should serve as an important resource revealing the molecular basis of muscle growth and development in duck. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics Applied to Livestock Production)
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Article
Deleterious AGXT Missense Variant Associated with Type 1 Primary Hyperoxaluria (PH1) in Zwartbles Sheep
Genes 2020, 11(10), 1147; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11101147 - 29 Sep 2020
Viewed by 586
Abstract
Severe oxalate nephropathy has been previously reported in sheep and is mostly associated with excessive oxalate in the diet. However, a rare native Dutch breed (Zwartbles) seems to be predisposed to an inherited juvenile form of primary hyperoxaluria and no causative genetic variant [...] Read more.
Severe oxalate nephropathy has been previously reported in sheep and is mostly associated with excessive oxalate in the diet. However, a rare native Dutch breed (Zwartbles) seems to be predisposed to an inherited juvenile form of primary hyperoxaluria and no causative genetic variant has been described so far. This study aims to characterize the phenotype and genetic etiology of the inherited metabolic disease observed in several purebred Zwartbles sheep. Affected animals present with a wide range of clinical signs including condition loss, inappetence, malaise, and, occasionally, respiratory signs, as well as an apparent sudden unexpected death. Histopathology revealed widespread oxalate crystal deposition in kidneys of the cases. Whole-genome sequencing of two affected sheep identified a missense variant in the ovine AGXT gene (c.584G>A; p.Cys195Tyr). Variants in AGXT are known to cause type I primary hyperoxaluria in dogs and humans. Herein, we present evidence that the observed clinicopathological phenotype can be described as a form of ovine type I primary hyperoxaluria. This disorder is explained by a breed-specific recessively inherited pathogenic AGXT variant. Genetic testing enables selection against this fatal disorder in Zwartbles sheep as well as more precise diagnosis in animals with similar clinical phenotype. Our results have been incorporated in the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Animals (OMIA) database (OMIA 001672-9940). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics Applied to Livestock Production)
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Article
Exploring the Regulatory Potential of Long Non-Coding RNA in Feed Efficiency of Indicine Cattle
Genes 2020, 11(9), 997; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11090997 - 25 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 855
Abstract
Long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) can regulate several aspects of gene expression, being associated with complex phenotypes in humans and livestock species. In taurine beef cattle, recent evidence points to the involvement of lncRNA in feed efficiency (FE), a proxy for increased productivity and [...] Read more.
Long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) can regulate several aspects of gene expression, being associated with complex phenotypes in humans and livestock species. In taurine beef cattle, recent evidence points to the involvement of lncRNA in feed efficiency (FE), a proxy for increased productivity and sustainability. Here, we hypothesized specific regulatory roles of lncRNA in FE of indicine cattle. Using RNA-Seq data from the liver, muscle, hypothalamus, pituitary gland and adrenal gland from Nellore bulls with divergent FE, we submitted new transcripts to a series of filters to confidently predict lncRNA. Then, we identified lncRNA that were differentially expressed (DE) and/or key regulators of FE. Finally, we explored lncRNA genomic location and interactions with miRNA and mRNA to infer potential function. We were able to identify 126 relevant lncRNA for FE in Bos indicus, some with high homology to previously identified lncRNA in Bos taurus and some possible specific regulators of FE in indicine cattle. Moreover, lncRNA identified here were linked to previously described mechanisms related to FE in hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis and are expected to help elucidate this complex phenotype. This study contributes to expanding the catalogue of lncRNA, particularly in indicine cattle, and identifies candidates for further studies in animal selection and management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics Applied to Livestock Production)
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Article
Combining Random Forests and a Signal Detection Method Leads to the Robust Detection of Genotype-Phenotype Associations
Genes 2020, 11(8), 892; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11080892 - 05 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 841 | Correction
Abstract
Genome wide association studies (GWAS) are a well established methodology to identify genomic variants and genes that are responsible for traits of interest in all branches of the life sciences. Despite the long time this methodology has had to mature the reliable detection [...] Read more.
Genome wide association studies (GWAS) are a well established methodology to identify genomic variants and genes that are responsible for traits of interest in all branches of the life sciences. Despite the long time this methodology has had to mature the reliable detection of genotype–phenotype associations is still a challenge for many quantitative traits mainly because of the large number of genomic loci with weak individual effects on the trait under investigation. Thus, it can be hypothesized that many genomic variants that have a small, however real, effect remain unnoticed in many GWAS approaches. Here, we propose a two-step procedure to address this problem. In a first step, cubic splines are fitted to the test statistic values and genomic regions with spline-peaks that are higher than expected by chance are considered as quantitative trait loci (QTL). Then the SNPs in these QTLs are prioritized with respect to the strength of their association with the phenotype using a Random Forests approach. As a case study, we apply our procedure to real data sets and find trustworthy numbers of, partially novel, genomic variants and genes involved in various egg quality traits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics Applied to Livestock Production)
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Article
Identification of Loci and Pathways Associated with Heifer Conception Rate in U.S. Holsteins
Genes 2020, 11(7), 767; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11070767 - 08 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 782
Abstract
Heifer conception rate (HCR) is defined as the percentage of inseminated heifers that become pregnant at each service. The genome-wide association analyses in this study focused on identifying the loci associated with Holstein heifer (n = 2013) conception rate at first service [...] Read more.
Heifer conception rate (HCR) is defined as the percentage of inseminated heifers that become pregnant at each service. The genome-wide association analyses in this study focused on identifying the loci associated with Holstein heifer (n = 2013) conception rate at first service (HCR1) and the number of times bred (TBRD) to achieve a pregnancy. There were 348 unique loci associated (p < 5 × 10−8) with HCR1 and 615 unique loci associated (p < 5 × 10−8) with TBRD. The two phenotypes shared 302 loci, and 56 loci were validated in independent cattle populations. There were 52 transcription factor binding sites (TFBS) and 552 positional candidate genes identified in the HCR1- and TBRD-associated loci. The positional candidate genes and the TFBS associated with HCR1 and TBRD were used in the ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA). In the IPA, 11 pathways, 207 master regulators and 11 upstream regulators were associated (p < 1.23 × 10−5) with HCR1 and TBRD. The validated loci associated with both HCR1 and TBRD make good candidates for genomic selection and further investigations to elucidate the mechanisms associated with subfertility and infertility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics Applied to Livestock Production)
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Article
Semen Modulates the Expression of NGF, ABHD2, VCAN, and CTEN in the Reproductive Tract of Female Rabbits
Genes 2020, 11(7), 758; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11070758 - 07 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 699
Abstract
Semen changes the gene expression in endometrial and oviductal tissues modulating important processes for reproduction. We tested the hypothesis that mating and/or sperm-free seminal plasma deposition in the reproductive tract affect the expression of genes associated with sperm-lining epithelium interactions, ovulation, and pre-implantation [...] Read more.
Semen changes the gene expression in endometrial and oviductal tissues modulating important processes for reproduction. We tested the hypothesis that mating and/or sperm-free seminal plasma deposition in the reproductive tract affect the expression of genes associated with sperm-lining epithelium interactions, ovulation, and pre-implantation effects (nerve growth factor, NGF; α/β hydrolase domain-containing protein 2, ABHD2; C-terminal tensin-like protein, CTEN or TNS4; and versican, VCAN) in the period 10–72 h post-mating. In Experiment 1, does (n = 9) were treated with gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) (control), GnRH-stimulated, and vaginally infused with sperm-free seminal plasma (SP-AI), or GnRH-stimulated and naturally mated (NM). In Experiment 2, does (n = 15) were GnRH-stimulated and naturally mated. Samples were retrieved from the internal reproductive tracts (cervix-to-infundibulum) 20 h post-treatment (Experiment 1) or sequentially collected at 10, 24, 36, 68, or 72 h post-mating (Experiment 2, 3 does/period). All samples were processed for gene expression analysis by quantitative PCR. Data showed an upregulation of endometrial CTEN and NGF by NM, but not by SP-AI. The findings suggest that the NGF gene affects the reproductive tract of the doe during ovulation and beyond, influencing the maternal environment during early embryonic development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics Applied to Livestock Production)
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Article
Duplication in ECR near HMX1 and a SNP in GATA6 Genes Regulate Microtia in Awassi Sheep
Genes 2020, 11(6), 597; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11060597 - 28 May 2020
Viewed by 758
Abstract
Microtia and anotia are hereditary traits characterized by an underdevelopment or complete absence of the outer ear. These congenital malformations observed in many species can exist as part of various syndromes or as an isolated trait as seen in the fat-tailed Awassi sheep [...] Read more.
Microtia and anotia are hereditary traits characterized by an underdevelopment or complete absence of the outer ear. These congenital malformations observed in many species can exist as part of various syndromes or as an isolated trait as seen in the fat-tailed Awassi sheep breed. Our study aims to identify the genetic mutations causing microtia in Awassi sheep by DNA sequencing. DNA was extracted from blood samples randomly collected from 84 Awassi sheep (16 earless, 41 short ear and 27 normal ear) across different farms. GATA6 exons 1, 2, 4, 6 and 7, CLRN1 intron 3, DCC intron 2, ECR near HMX1 and the intergenic region between GATA6 and MIB1 genes were screened, amplified and sequenced. Allele and genotype frequencies were calculated by direct counting. Association was performed using chi-squared test for goodness-of-fit. Results showed mutations in only two genes significantly associated with microtia in Awassi: duplication in part of ECR near HMX1 (6:114293121-6:114293196) and a SNP at GATA6 exon 7 (23:34498242). Association results revealed that the ECR locus accounts for the microtia phenotype, while GATA6 exon 7 acts as a modifier gene. Genetic screening for these loci can be used to improve selection against microtia in Awassi sheep. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics Applied to Livestock Production)
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Article
Identification of Age-Specific and Common Key Regulatory Mechanisms Governing Eggshell Strength in Chicken Using Random Forests
Genes 2020, 11(4), 464; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11040464 - 24 Apr 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1031
Abstract
In today’s chicken egg industry, maintaining the strength of eggshells in longer laying cycles is pivotal for improving the persistency of egg laying. Eggshell development and mineralization underlie a complex regulatory interplay of various proteins and signaling cascades involving multiple organ systems. Understanding [...] Read more.
In today’s chicken egg industry, maintaining the strength of eggshells in longer laying cycles is pivotal for improving the persistency of egg laying. Eggshell development and mineralization underlie a complex regulatory interplay of various proteins and signaling cascades involving multiple organ systems. Understanding the regulatory mechanisms influencing this dynamic trait over time is imperative, yet scarce. To investigate the temporal changes in the signaling cascades, we considered eggshell strength at two different time points during the egg production cycle and studied the genotype–phenotype associations by employing the Random Forests algorithm on chicken genotypic data. For the analysis of corresponding genes, we adopted a well established systems biology approach to delineate gene regulatory pathways and master regulators underlying this important trait. Our results indicate that, while some of the master regulators (Slc22a1 and Sox11) and pathways are common at different laying stages of chicken, others (e.g., Scn11a, St8sia2, or the TGF- β pathway) represent age-specific functions. Overall, our results provide: (i) significant insights into age-specific and common molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of eggshell strength; and (ii) new breeding targets to improve the eggshell quality during the later stages of the chicken production cycle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics Applied to Livestock Production)
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Article
Gene Expression Profiling of Corpus luteum Reveals Important Insights about Early Pregnancy in Domestic Sheep
Genes 2020, 11(4), 415; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11040415 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1763
Abstract
The majority of pregnancy loss in ruminants occurs during the preimplantation stage, which is thus the most critical period determining reproductive success. Here, we performed a comparative transcriptome study by sequencing total mRNA from corpus luteum (CL) collected during the preimplantation stage of [...] Read more.
The majority of pregnancy loss in ruminants occurs during the preimplantation stage, which is thus the most critical period determining reproductive success. Here, we performed a comparative transcriptome study by sequencing total mRNA from corpus luteum (CL) collected during the preimplantation stage of pregnancy in Finnsheep, Texel and F1 crosses. A total of 21,287 genes were expressed in our data. Highly expressed autosomal genes in the CL were associated with biological processes such as progesterone formation (STAR, CYP11A1, and HSD3B1) and embryo implantation (e.g., TIMP1, TIMP2 and TCTP). Among the list of differentially expressed genes, sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin (Ig)-like lectins (SIGLEC3, SIGLEC14, SIGLEC8), ribosomal proteins (RPL17, RPL34, RPS3A, MRPS33) and chemokines (CCL5, CCL24, CXCL13, CXCL9) were upregulated in Finnsheep, while four multidrug resistance-associated proteins (MRPs) were upregulated in Texel ewes. A total of 17 known genes and two uncharacterized non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) were differentially expressed in breed-wise comparisons owing to the flushing diet effect. The significantly upregulated TXNL1 gene indicated potential for embryonic diapause in Finnsheep and F1. Moreover, we report, for the first time in any species, several genes that are active in the CL during early pregnancy (including TXNL1, SIGLEC14, SIGLEC8, MRP4, and CA5A). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics Applied to Livestock Production)
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Article
Transcriptomic and ChIP-seq Integrative Analysis Reveals Important Roles of Epigenetically Regulated lncRNAs in Placental Development in Meishan Pigs
Genes 2020, 11(4), 397; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11040397 - 06 Apr 2020
Viewed by 932
Abstract
The development of the placental fold, which increases the maternal–fetal interacting surface area, is of primary importance for the growth of the fetus throughout the whole pregnancy. However, the mechanisms involved remain to be fully elucidated. Increasing evidence has revealed that long non-coding [...] Read more.
The development of the placental fold, which increases the maternal–fetal interacting surface area, is of primary importance for the growth of the fetus throughout the whole pregnancy. However, the mechanisms involved remain to be fully elucidated. Increasing evidence has revealed that long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are a new class of RNAs with regulatory functions and could be epigenetically regulated by histone modifications. In this study, 141 lncRNAs (including 73 up-regulated and 68 down-regulated lncRNAs) were identified to be differentially expressed in the placentas of pigs during the establishment and expanding stages of placental fold development. The differentially expressed lncRNAs and genes (DElncRNA-DEgene) co-expression network analysis revealed that these differentially expressed lncRNAs (DElncRNAs) were mainly enriched in pathways of cell adhesion, cytoskeleton organization, epithelial cell differentiation and angiogenesis, indicating that the DElncRNAs are related to the major events that occur during placental fold development. In addition, we integrated the RNA-seq (RNA sequencing) data with the ChIP-seq (chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing) data of H3K4me3/H3K27ac produced from the placental samples of pigs from the two stages (gestational days 50 and 95). The analysis revealed that the changes in H3K4me3 and/or H3K27ac levels were significantly associated with the changes in the expression levels of 37 DElncRNAs. Furthermore, several H3K4me3/H3K27ac-lncRNAs were characterized to be significantly correlated with genes functionally related to placental development. Thus, this study provides new insights into understanding the mechanisms for the placental development of pigs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics Applied to Livestock Production)
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Article
Novel Variants in GDF9 Gene Affect Promoter Activity and Litter Size in Mongolia Sheep
Genes 2020, 11(4), 375; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11040375 - 30 Mar 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1137
Abstract
Litter size is an economically important trait in sheep breeding. The objectives of this study were as follows: (1) to ascertain if any of the 19 known variants in the BMPRIB, BMP15, and GDF9 genes are present and associated with the [...] Read more.
Litter size is an economically important trait in sheep breeding. The objectives of this study were as follows: (1) to ascertain if any of the 19 known variants in the BMPRIB, BMP15, and GDF9 genes are present and associated with the litter size of Mongolia sheep; (2) to identify novel variants in GDF9 and perform association analysis; and (3) to validate the effects of these GDF9 promoter variants on the activity of the gene. The results of the 19 known variants showed that the FecBB affected the litter size of Mongolia sheep (p < 0.001). The association analysis results of novel variants showed that the g.46544883A>G (GenBank accession: NC_040256, the same below) in the 3’ untranslated region (3’ UTR), the c.1040T>C (Phe347Ser) in the exon 2, and the g.46547859C>T SNP in the promotor of GDF9 were significantly associated with litter size of Mongolia ewes (p < 0.01, p < 0.05, and p < 0.001, respectively). In addition, the GDF9 promoter activity analysis showed that the C allele at the −332 position (g.46547859C>T) could decrease luciferase activity compared with the T allele (p < 0.01). Our findings may facilitate effective marker-assisted selection to increase litter size in Mongolia sheep populations, as well as bring new insights into GDF9 expression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics Applied to Livestock Production)
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Article
Analysis of Long Noncoding RNA and mRNA Expression Profiles of Testes with High and Low Sperm Motility in Domestic Pigeons (Columba livia)
Genes 2020, 11(4), 349; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11040349 - 25 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 857
Abstract
Sperm motility is one of the most important indicators in assessing semen quality, and it is used to evaluate poultry fertility. Many long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) and mRNAs are involved in regulating testis development and spermatogenesis. In this study, we employed RNA sequencing [...] Read more.
Sperm motility is one of the most important indicators in assessing semen quality, and it is used to evaluate poultry fertility. Many long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) and mRNAs are involved in regulating testis development and spermatogenesis. In this study, we employed RNA sequencing to analyse the testis transcriptome (lncRNA and mRNA) of ten pigeons with high and low sperm motility. In total, 46,117 mRNAs and 17,463 lncRNAs were identified, of which 2673 mRNAs and 229 lncRNAs (P < 0.05) were significantly differentially expressed (DE) between the high and low sperm motility groups. Gene ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) annotation analysis showed that target genes of DE lncRNAs and DE mRNAs were related to calcium ion binding, ATP binding, and spermatogenesis. Moreover, we found that UBB, a target gene of lncRNA MSTRG.7787.5, was involved in germ cell development. Our study provided a catalogue of lncRNAs and mRNAs associated with sperm motility, and they deserve further study to deepen the understanding of biological processes in the pigeon testis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics Applied to Livestock Production)
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Article
Weighted Single-Step Genome-Wide Association Study for Growth Traits in Chinese Simmental Beef Cattle
Genes 2020, 11(2), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11020189 - 11 Feb 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1005
Abstract
Improving the genetic process of growth traits is one of the major goals in the beef cattle industry, as it can increase meat production and reduce the cost of raising animals. Although several quantitative trait loci affecting growth traits in beef cattle have [...] Read more.
Improving the genetic process of growth traits is one of the major goals in the beef cattle industry, as it can increase meat production and reduce the cost of raising animals. Although several quantitative trait loci affecting growth traits in beef cattle have been identified, the genetic architecture of these economically important traits remains elusive. This study aims to map single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and genes associated with birth weight (BW), yearling weight (YW), average daily gain from birth to yearling (BYADG), and body weight at the age of 18 months (18MW) in a Chinese Simmental beef cattle population using a weighted, single-step, genome-wide association study (wssGWAS). Phenotypic and pedigree data from 6022 animals and genotypes from 744 animals (596,297 SNPs) were used for an association analysis. The results showed that 66 genomic windows explained 1.01–20.15% of the genetic variance for the four examined traits, together with the genes near the top SNP within each window. Furthermore, the identified genomic windows (>1%) explained 50.56%, 57.71%, 61.78%, and 37.82% of the genetic variances for BW, YW, BYADG, and 18MW, respectively. Genes with potential functions in muscle development and regulation of cell growth were highlighted as candidates for growth traits in Simmental cattle (SQOR and TBCB for BW, MYH10 for YW, RLF for BYADG, and ARHGAP31 for 18MW). Moreover, we found 40 SNPs that had not previously been identified as being associated with growth traits in cattle. These findings will further advance our understanding of the genetic basis for growth traits and will be useful for the molecular breeding of BW, YW, BYADG, and 18MW in the context of genomic selection in beef cattle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics Applied to Livestock Production)
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Article
Mitochondrial DNA Haplotypes Influence Energy Metabolism across Chicken Transmitochondrial Cybrids
Genes 2020, 11(1), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11010100 - 16 Jan 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1115
Abstract
The association between mitochondrial DNA haplotype and productive performances has been widely reported in chicken breeds. However, there has not been physiological evidence of this seen previously. In this study, chicken transmitochondrial cells were generated using the nucleus of the DF-1 cell line [...] Read more.
The association between mitochondrial DNA haplotype and productive performances has been widely reported in chicken breeds. However, there has not been physiological evidence of this seen previously. In this study, chicken transmitochondrial cells were generated using the nucleus of the DF-1 cell line and mitochondria of primary cell lines derived from two native chicken breeds, Tibetan chicken and Shouguang chicken. Generally, Tibetan chicken primary cells showed a stronger metabolic capacity than Shouguang chicken primary cells. However, the Tibetan chicken cybrids had a dramatic drop in relative mtDNA copies and oxygen consumption. Higher rates of oxygen consumption (OCR) and expression levels of mitochondrial biogenesis and fusion genes were observed in Shouguang chicken cybrids, potentially reflecting that the mitochondrial DNA haplotype of Shouguang chicken had better coordination with the DF-1 nucleus than others. Meanwhile, mitonuclear incompatibility occurred in Tibetan chicken cybrids. The results demonstrate functional differences among mitochondrial DNA haplotypes and may shed light on the interaction between the mitochondria and nucleus in Gallus gallus domesticus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics Applied to Livestock Production)
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Review

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Review
The Future of Livestock Management: A Review of Real-Time Portable Sequencing Applied to Livestock
Genes 2020, 11(12), 1478; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11121478 - 09 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1066
Abstract
Oxford Nanopore Technologies’ MinION has proven to be a valuable tool within human and microbial genetics. Its capacity to produce long reads in real time has opened up unique applications for portable sequencing. Examples include tracking the recent African swine fever outbreak in [...] Read more.
Oxford Nanopore Technologies’ MinION has proven to be a valuable tool within human and microbial genetics. Its capacity to produce long reads in real time has opened up unique applications for portable sequencing. Examples include tracking the recent African swine fever outbreak in China and providing a diagnostic tool for disease in the cassava plant in Eastern Africa. Here we review the current applications of Oxford Nanopore sequencing in livestock, then focus on proposed applications in livestock agriculture for rapid diagnostics, base modification detection, reference genome assembly and genomic prediction. In particular, we propose a future application: ‘crush-side genotyping’ for real-time on-farm genotyping for extensive industries such as northern Australian beef production. An initial in silico experiment to assess the feasibility of crush-side genotyping demonstrated promising results. SNPs were called from simulated Nanopore data, that included the relatively high base call error rate that is characteristic of the data, and calling parameters were varied to understand the feasibility of SNP calling at low coverages in a heterozygous population. With optimised genotype calling parameters, over 85% of the 10,000 simulated SNPs were able to be correctly called with coverages as low as 6×. These results provide preliminary evidence that Oxford Nanopore sequencing has potential to be used for real-time SNP genotyping in extensive livestock operations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics Applied to Livestock Production)
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Review
Omics Application in Animal Science—A Special Emphasis on Stress Response and Damaging Behaviour in Pigs
Genes 2020, 11(8), 920; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11080920 - 11 Aug 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1292
Abstract
Increasing stress resilience of livestock is important for ethical and profitable meat and dairy production. Susceptibility to stress can entail damaging behaviours, a common problem in pig production. Breeding animals with increased stress resilience is difficult for various reasons. First, studies on neuroendocrine [...] Read more.
Increasing stress resilience of livestock is important for ethical and profitable meat and dairy production. Susceptibility to stress can entail damaging behaviours, a common problem in pig production. Breeding animals with increased stress resilience is difficult for various reasons. First, studies on neuroendocrine and behavioural stress responses in farm animals are scarce, as it is difficult to record adequate phenotypes under field conditions. Second, damaging behaviours and stress susceptibility are complex traits, and their biology is not yet well understood. Dissecting complex traits into biologically better defined, heritable and easily measurable proxy traits and developing biomarkers will facilitate recording these traits in large numbers. High-throughput molecular technologies (“omics”) study the entirety of molecules and their interactions in a single analysis step. They can help to decipher the contributions of different physiological systems and identify candidate molecules that are representative of different physiological pathways. Here, we provide a general overview of different omics approaches and we give examples of how these techniques could be applied to discover biomarkers. We discuss the genetic dissection of the stress response by different omics techniques and we provide examples and outline potential applications of omics tools to understand and prevent outbreaks of damaging behaviours. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics Applied to Livestock Production)
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Review
Genetics of Omega-3 Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Metabolism and Meat Eating Quality in Tattykeel Australian White Lambs
Genes 2020, 11(5), 587; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11050587 - 25 May 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3348
Abstract
Meat eating quality with a healthy composition hinges on intramuscular fat (IMF), fat melting point (FMP), tenderness, juiciness, flavour and omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LC-PUFA) content. These health-beneficial n-3 LC-PUFA play significant roles in optimal cardiovascular, retinal, maternal and childhood brain [...] Read more.
Meat eating quality with a healthy composition hinges on intramuscular fat (IMF), fat melting point (FMP), tenderness, juiciness, flavour and omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LC-PUFA) content. These health-beneficial n-3 LC-PUFA play significant roles in optimal cardiovascular, retinal, maternal and childhood brain functions, and include alpha linolenic (ALA), eicosapentaenoic (EPA), docosahexaenoic (DHA) and docosapentaenoic (DPA) acids. The primary objective of this review was to access, retrieve, synthesise and critically appraise the published literature on the synthesis, metabolism and genetics of n-3 LC-PUFA and meat eating quality. Studies on IMF content, FMP and fatty acid composition were reviewed to identify knowledge gaps that can inform future research with Tattykeel Australian White (TAW) lambs. The TAW is a new sheep breed exclusive to MARGRA brand of lamb with an outstanding low fat melting point (28–39°C), high n-3 LC-PUFA EPA+DHA content (33–69mg/100g), marbling (3.4–8.2%), tenderness (20.0–38.5N) and overall consumer liking (7.9–8.5). However, correlations between n-3 LC-PUFA profile, stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD), fatty acid binding protein 4 (FABP4), fatty acid synthase (FASN), other lipogenic genes and meat quality traits present major knowledge gaps. The review also identified research opportunities in nutrition–genetics interactions aimed at a greater understanding of the genetics of n-3 LC-PUFA, feedlot finishing performance, carcass traits and eating quality in the TAW sheep. It was concluded that studies on IMF, FMP and n-3 LC-PUFA profiles in parental and progeny generations of TAW sheep will be foundational for the genetic selection of healthy lamb eating qualities and provide useful insights into their correlations with SCD, FASN and FABP4 genes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics Applied to Livestock Production)
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Correction
Correction: Ramzan F. et al. “Combining Random Forests and a Signal Detection Method Leads to the Robust Detection of Genotype-Phenotype Associations” Genes, 2020, 11, 892
Genes 2020, 11(10), 1199; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11101199 - 14 Oct 2020
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Abstract
The authors would like to make a correction to the published paper [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics Applied to Livestock Production)
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