A 1.8-kb insertion in the 3'-UTR of RXFP2 is associated with polledness in sheep.
ABSTRACT: Sheep breeds show a broad spectrum of different horn phenotypes. In most modern production breeds, sheep are polled (absence of horns), whereas horns occur mainly in indigenous breeds. Previous studies mapped the responsible locus to the region of the RXFP2 gene on ovine chromosome 10. A 4-kb region of the 3'-end of RXFP2 was amplified in horned and polled animals from seven Swiss sheep breeds. Sequence analysis identified a 1833-bp genomic insertion located in the 3'-UTR region of RXFP2 present in polled animals only. An efficient PCR-based genotyping method to determine the polled genotype of individual sheep is presented. Comparative sequence analyses revealed evidence that the polled-associated insertion adds a potential antisense RNA sequence of EEF1A1 to the 3'-end of RXFP2 transcripts.
Project description:The mode of inheritance of horn status in sheep is far more complex than a superficial analysis might suggest. Observations, which were mostly based on crossbreeding experiments, indicated that the allele that results in horns is dominant in males and recessive in females, and some authors even speculated about the involvement of more than two alleles. However, all recent genome-wide association analyses point towards a very strong effect of a single autosomal locus on ovine chromosome 10, which was narrowed down to a putatively causal insertion polymorphism in the 3'-untranslated region of the relaxin/insulin-like family peptide receptor 2 gene (RXFP2). The main objective of this study was to test this insertion polymorphism as the causal mutation in diverse sheep breeds, including breeds with a variable and/or sex-dependent horn status.After re-sequencing a region of about 246 kb that covered the RFXP2 gene and its flanking regions for 24 sheep from six completely horned and six completely polled breeds, we identified the same insertion polymorphism that was previously published as segregating with horn status in these breeds. Multiplex PCR genotyping of 489 sheep from 34 breeds and some crosses between sheep breeds showed a nearly perfect segregation of the insertion polymorphism with horn status in sheep breeds of Central and Western European origin. In these breeds and their crossings, heterozygous males were horned and heterozygous females were polled. However, this segregation pattern was not, or at least not completely, reproducible in breeds with sex-dependent and/or variable horn status, especially in sheep that originated from even more southern European regions and from Africa. In such breeds, we observed almost all possible combinations of genotype, sex and horn status phenotype.The 1.78-kb insertion polymorphism in the 3'-untranslated region of RXFP2 and SNPs in the 3'-UTR, exon 14 and intron 11 of this gene that we analyzed in this study cannot be considered as the only cause of polledness in sheep and are not useful as a universal marker to define the genetic horn status in sheep.
Project description:In horned sheep breeds, breeding for polledness has been of interest for decades. The objective of this study was to improve prediction of the horned and polled phenotypes using horn scores classified as polled, scurs, knobs or horns. Derived phenotypes polled/non-polled (P/NP) and horned/non-horned (H/NH) were used to test four different strategies for prediction in 4001 purebred Merino sheep. These strategies include the use of single 'single nucleotide polymorphism' (SNP) genotypes, multiple-SNP haplotypes, genome-wide and chromosome-wide genomic best linear unbiased prediction and information from imputed sequence variants from the region including the RXFP2 gene. Low-density genotypes of these animals were imputed to the Illumina Ovine high-density (600k) chip and the 1.78-kb insertion polymorphism in RXFP2 was included in the imputation process to whole-genome sequence. We evaluated the mode of inheritance and validated models by a fivefold cross-validation and across- and between-family prediction.The most significant SNPs for prediction of P/NP and H/NH were OAR10_29546872.1 and OAR10_29458450, respectively, located on chromosome 10 close to the 1.78-kb insertion at 29.5 Mb. The mode of inheritance included an additive effect and a sex-dependent effect for dominance for P/NP and a sex-dependent additive and dominance effect for H/NH. Models with the highest prediction accuracies for H/NH used either single SNPs or 3-SNP haplotypes and included a polygenic effect estimated based on traditional pedigree relationships. Prediction accuracies for H/NH were 0.323 for females and 0.725 for males. For predicting P/NP, the best models were the same as for H/NH but included a genomic relationship matrix with accuracies of 0.713 for females and 0.620 for males.Our results show that prediction accuracy is high using a single SNP, but does not reach 1 since the causative mutation is not genotyped. Incomplete penetrance or allelic heterogeneity, which can influence expression of the phenotype, may explain why prediction accuracy did not approach 1 with any of the genetic models tested here. Nevertheless, a breeding program to eradicate horns from Merino sheep can be effective by selecting genotypes GG of SNP OAR10_29458450 or TT of SNP OAR10_29546872.1 since all sheep with these genotypes will be non-horned.
Project description:The persistent horns are an important trait of speciation for the family Bovidae with complex morphogenesis taking place briefly after birth. The polledness is highly favourable in modern cattle breeding systems but serious animal welfare issues urge for a solution in the production of hornless cattle other than dehorning. Although the dominant inhibition of horn morphogenesis was discovered more than 70 years ago, and the causative mutation was mapped almost 20 years ago, its molecular nature remained unknown. Here, we report allelic heterogeneity of the POLLED locus. First, we mapped the POLLED locus to a ?381-kb interval in a multi-breed case-control design. Targeted re-sequencing of an enlarged candidate interval (547 kb) in 16 sires with known POLLED genotype did not detect a common allele associated with polled status. In eight sires of Alpine and Scottish origin (four polled versus four horned), we identified a single candidate mutation, a complex 202 bp insertion-deletion event that showed perfect association to the polled phenotype in various European cattle breeds, except Holstein-Friesian. The analysis of the same candidate interval in eight Holsteins identified five candidate variants which segregate as a 260 kb haplotype also perfectly associated with the POLLED gene without recombination or interference with the 202 bp insertion-deletion. We further identified bulls which are progeny tested as homozygous polled but bearing both, 202 bp insertion-deletion and Friesian haplotype. The distribution of genotypes of the two putative POLLED alleles in large semi-random sample (1,261 animals) supports the hypothesis of two independent mutations.
Project description:The molecular regulation of horn growth in ruminants is still poorly understood. To investigate this process, we collected 1019 hornless (polled) animals from different cattle breeds. High-density SNP genotyping confirmed the presence of two different polled associated haplotypes in Simmental and Holstein cattle co-localized on BTA 1. We refined the critical region of the Simmental polled mutation to 212 kb and identified an overlapping region of 932 kb containing the Holstein polled mutation. Subsequently, whole genome sequencing of polled Simmental and Holstein cows was used to determine polled associated genomic variants. By genotyping larger cohorts of animals with known horn status we found a single perfectly associated insertion/deletion variant in Simmental and other beef cattle confirming the recently published possible Celtic polled mutation. We identified a total of 182 sequence variants as candidate mutations for polledness in Holstein cattle, including an 80 kb genomic duplication and three SNPs reported before. For the first time we showed that hornless cattle with scurs are obligate heterozygous for one of the polled mutations. This is in contrast to published complex inheritance models for the bovine scurs phenotype. Studying differential expression of the annotated genes and loci within the mapped region on BTA 1 revealed a locus (LOC100848215), known in cow and buffalo only, which is higher expressed in fetal tissue of wildtype horn buds compared to tissue of polled fetuses. This implicates that the presence of this long noncoding RNA is a prerequisite for horn bud formation. In addition, both transcripts associated with polledness in goat and sheep (FOXL2 and RXFP2), show an overexpression in horn buds confirming their importance during horn development in cattle.
Project description:Horns are a cranial appendage found exclusively in Bovidae, and play important roles in accessing resources and mates. In sheep (Ovies aries), horns vary from polled to six-horned, and human have been selecting polled animals in farming and breeding. Here, we conducted a genome-wide association study on 24 two-horned versus 22 four-horned phenotypes in a native Chinese breed of Sishui Fur sheep. Together with linkage disequilibrium (LD) analyses and haplotype-based association tests, we identified a genomic region comprising 132.0-133.1 Mb on chromosome 2 that contained the top 10 SNPs (including 4 significant SNPs) and 5 most significant haplotypes associated with the polycerate phenotype. In humans and mice, this genomic region contains the HOXD gene cluster and adjacent functional genes EVX2 and KIAA1715, which have a close association with the formation of limbs and genital buds. Our results provide new insights into the genetic basis underlying variable numbers of horns and represent a new resource for use in sheep genetics and breeding.
Project description:Background:Animal domestication has been extensively studied, but the process of feralization remains poorly understood. Results:Here, we performed whole-genome sequencing of 99 sheep and identified a primary genetic divergence between 2 heterogeneous populations in the Tibetan Plateau, including 1 semi-feral lineage. Selective sweep and candidate gene analysis revealed local adaptations of these sheep associated with sensory perception, muscle strength, eating habit, mating process, and aggressive behavior. In particular, a horn-related gene, RXFP2, showed signs of rapid evolution specifically in the semi-feral breeds. A unique haplotype and repressed horn-related tissue expression of RXFP2 were correlated with higher horn length, as well as spiral and horizontally extended horn shape. Conclusions:Semi-feralization has an extensive impact on diverse phenotypic traits of sheep. By acquiring features like those of their wild ancestors, semi-feral sheep were able to regain fitness while in frequent contact with wild surroundings and rare human interventions. This study provides a new insight into the evolution of domestic animals when human interventions are no longer dominant.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The absence of horns, called polled phenotype, is the favored trait in modern cattle husbandry. To date, polled cattle are obtained primarily by dehorning calves. Dehorning is a practice that raises animal welfare issues, which can be addressed by selecting for genetically hornless cattle. In the past 20 years, there have been many studies worldwide to identify unique genetic markers in complete association with the polled trait in cattle and recently, two different alleles at the POLLED locus, both resulting in the absence of horns, were reported: (1) the Celtic allele, which is responsible for the polled phenotype in most breeds and for which a single candidate mutation was detected and (2) the Friesian allele, which is responsible for the polled phenotype predominantly in the Holstein-Friesian breed and in a few other breeds, but for which five candidate mutations were identified in a 260-kb haplotype. Further studies based on genome-wide sequencing and high-density SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) genotyping confirmed the existence of the Celtic and Friesian variants and narrowed down the causal Friesian haplotype to an interval of 145 kb. RESULTS: Almost 6000 animals were genetically tested for the polled trait and we detected a recombinant animal which enabled us to reduce the Friesian POLLED haplotype to a single causal mutation, namely a 80-kb duplication. Moreover, our results clearly disagree with the recently reported perfect co-segregation of the POLLED mutation and a SNP at position 1 390 292 bp on bovine chromosome 1 in the Holstein-Friesian population. CONCLUSION: We conclude that the 80-kb duplication, as the only remaining variant within the shortened Friesian haplotype, represents the most likely causal mutation for the polled phenotype of Friesian origin.
Project description:It is a unique feature that fat can be deposited in sheep tails and rumps. To elucidate the genetic mechanism underlying this trait, we collected 120 individuals from three Chinese indigenous sheep breeds with extreme tail types, namely large fat-tailed sheep (n = 40), Altay sheep (n = 40), and Tibetan sheep (n = 40), and genotyped them using the Ovine Infinium HD SNP BeadChip. Then genomic scan for selection signatures was performed using the hapFLK. In total, we identified 25 genomic regions exhibiting evidence of having been under selection. Bioinformatic analysis of the genomic regions showed that selection signatures related to multiple candidate genes had a demonstrated role in phenotypic variation. Nine genes have documented association with sheep tail types, including WDR92, TBX12, WARS2, BMP2, VEGFA, PDGFD, HOXA10, ALX4, and ETAA1. Moreover, a number of genes were of particular interest, including RXFP2 associated with the presence/absence and morphology of horns; MITF involved in coat color; LIN52 and SYNDIG1L related to the number of teats; MSRB3 gene associated with ear sizes; LTBP2 considered as a positional candidate genes for number of ribs; JAZF1 regulating lipid metabolism; PGRMC2, SPAG17, TSHR, GTF2A1, and LARP1B implicated with reproductive traits. Our findings provide insights into fat tail formation and a reference for carrying out molecular breeding and conservation in sheep.
Project description:Many breeds of modern cattle are naturally horned, and for sound husbandry management reasons the calves frequently undergo procedures to physically remove the horns by disbudding or dehorning. These procedures are however a welfare concern. Selective breeding for polledness - absence of horns - has been effective in some cattle breeds but not in others (Bos indicus genotypes) due in part to the complex genetics of horn phenotype. To address this problem different approaches to genetic testing which provide accurate early-in-life prediction of horn phenotype have been evaluated, initially using microsatellites (MSAT) and more recently single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). A direct gene test is not effective given the genetic heterogeneity and large-sized sequence variants associated with polledness in different breeds. The current study investigated 39,943 animals of multiple breeds to assess the accuracy of available poll testing assays. While the standard SNP-based test was an improvement on the earlier MSAT haplotyping method, 1999 (9.69%) out of 20,636 animals tested with this SNP-based assay did not predict a genotype, most commonly associated with the Indicus-influenced breeds. The current study has developed an optimized poll gene test that resolved the vast majority of these 1999 unresolved animals, while the predicted genotypes of those previously resolved remained unchanged. Hence the optimized poll test successfully predicted a genotype in 99.96% of samples assessed. We demonstrated that a robust set of 5 SNPs can effectively determine PC and PF alleles and eliminate the ambiguous and undetermined results of poll gene testing previously identified as an issue in cattle.
Project description:Polledness in cattle is an autosomal dominant trait. Previous studies have revealed allelic heterogeneity at the polled locus and four different variants were identified, all in intergenic regions. In this study, we report a case of polled bull (FV-Polled1) born to horned parents, indicating a de novo origin of this polled condition. Using 50K genotyping and whole genome sequencing data, we identified on chromosome 2 an 11-bp deletion (AC_000159.1:g.52364063_52364073del; Del11) in the second exon of ZEB2 gene as the causal mutation for this de novo polled condition. We predicted that the deletion would shorten the protein product of ZEB2 by almost 91%. Moreover, we showed that all animals carrying Del11 mutation displayed symptoms similar to Mowat-Wilson syndrome (MWS) in humans, which is also associated with genetic variations in ZEB2. The symptoms in cattle include delayed maturity, small body stature and abnormal shape of skull. This is the first report of a de novo dominant mutation affecting only ZEB2 and associated with a genetic absence of horns. Therefore our results demonstrate undoubtedly that ZEB2 plays an important role in the process of horn ontogenesis as well as in the regulation of overall development and growth of animals.