Genetic Analysis of Quantitative Traits Using Domestic Animals A Candidate Gene and Genome Scanning Approach

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: Domestication has led to genetic changes that affect quantitative traits in farm animals. Both candidate gene analysis using association tests and genome scans based on linkage analysis have been performed to understand the molecular basis underlying quantitative genetic variation in horses, pigs and chickens. To test a possible association of polymorphisms in the PRKAG3 gene, previously found to be associated with excess glycogen content in pig skeletal muscle, with quantitative traits in the horse, the major coding part of the equine PRKAG3 sequence was identified. Bioinformatic characterization of the equine PRKAG3 gene was conducted. A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) causing a missense mutation (Pro258Leu) was found. Screening this SNP showed that the Leu258 allele was more frequent in breeds with heavy muscularity. To assess previously reported associations between polymorphisms in the MC4R gene and obesity-related traits further, we conducted linkage analysis between the MC4R locus and fatness-related traits using a Wild BoarxLarge White intercross. No significant association between segregation at the MC4R locus and fatness was detected in this pedigree. A genome scan of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) has been performed in an intercross between chicken lines divergently selected for growth. Divergent parental lines have been established by selecting for high and low 56-day body weight for over 40 generations. The selection has led to approximately a 9-fold difference in 56-day body weight between lines and resulted in correlated responses for a number of traits including appetite, immune response, body composition and metabolic traits. Phenotypic data on growth and other correlated traits were collected from more than 800 F2 individuals. Genome scans using 145 markers on 26 linkage groups have identified QTLs affecting growth and correlated responses to selection for 56-day body weight. No major QTL explaining a large portion of phenotypic variation in growth was revealed in this study.