Mapping QTL for white striping in relation to breast muscle yield and meat quality traits in broiler chickens.
ABSTRACT: White striping (WS) is an emerging muscular defect occurring on breast and thigh muscles of broiler chickens. It is characterized by the presence of white striations parallel to the muscle fibers and has significant consequences for meat quality. The etiology of WS remains poorly understood, even if previous studies demonstrated that the defect prevalence is related to broiler growth and muscle development. Moreover, recent studies showed moderate to high heritability values of WS, which emphasized the role of genetics in the expression of the muscle defect. The aim of this study was to identify the first quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for WS as well as breast muscle yield (BMY) and meat quality traits using a genome-wide association study (GWAS). We took advantage of two divergent lines of chickens selected for meat quality through Pectoralis major ultimate pH (pHu) and which exhibit the muscular defect. An expression QTL (eQTL) detection was further performed for some candidate genes, either suggested by GWAS analysis or based on their biological function.Forty-two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with WS and other meat quality traits were identified. They defined 18 QTL regions located on 13 chromosomes. These results supported a polygenic inheritance of the studied traits and highlighted a few pleiotropic regions. A set of 16 positional and/or functional candidate genes was designed for further eQTL detection. A total of 132 SNPs were associated with molecular phenotypes and defined 21 eQTL regions located on 16 chromosomes. Interestingly, several co-localizations between QTL and eQTL regions were observed which could suggest causative genes and gene networks involved in the variability of meat quality traits and BMY.The QTL mapping carried out in the current study for WS did not support the existence of a major gene, but rather suggested a polygenic inheritance of the defect and of other studied meat quality traits. We identified several candidate genes involved in muscle metabolism and structure and in muscular dystrophies. The eQTL analyses showed that they were part of molecular networks associated with WS and meat quality phenotypes and suggested a few putative causative genes.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Economically important growth and meat quality traits in pigs are controlled by cascading molecular events occurring during development and continuing throughout the conversion of muscle to meat. However, little is known about the genes and molecular mechanisms involved in this process. Evaluating transcriptomic profiles of skeletal muscle during the initial steps leading to the conversion of muscle to meat can identify key regulators of polygenic phenotypes. In addition, mapping transcript abundance through genome-wide association analysis using high-density marker genotypes allows identification of genomic regions that control gene expression, referred to as expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL). In this study, we perform eQTL analyses to identify potential candidate genes and molecular markers regulating growth and meat quality traits in pigs. RESULTS:Messenger RNA transcripts obtained with RNA-seq of longissimus dorsi muscle from 168?F2 animals from a Duroc x Pietrain pig resource population were used to estimate gene expression variation subject to genetic control by mapping eQTL. A total of 339 eQTL were mapped (FDR???0.01) with 191 exhibiting local-acting regulation. Joint analysis of eQTL with phenotypic QTL (pQTL) segregating in our population revealed 16 genes significantly associated with 21 pQTL for meat quality, carcass composition and growth traits. Ten of these pQTL were for meat quality phenotypes that co-localized with one eQTL on SSC2 (8.8-Mb region) and 11 eQTL on SSC15 (121-Mb region). Biological processes identified for co-localized eQTL genes include calcium signaling (FERM, MRLN, PKP2 and CHRNA9), energy metabolism (SUCLG2 and PFKFB3) and redox hemostasis (NQO1 and CEP128), and results support an important role for activation of the PI3K-Akt-mTOR signaling pathway during the initial conversion of muscle to meat. CONCLUSION:Co-localization of eQTL with pQTL identified molecular markers significantly associated with both economically important phenotypes and gene transcript abundance. This study reveals candidate genes contributing to variation in pig production traits, and provides new knowledge regarding the genetic architecture of meat quality phenotypes.
Project description:Meat quality traits have an increasing importance in the pig industry because of their strong impact on consumer acceptance. Herewith, we have combined phenotypic and microarray expression data to map loci with potential effects on five meat quality traits recorded in the longissimus dorsi (LD) and gluteus medius (GM) muscles of 350 Duroc pigs, i.e. pH at 24?hours post-mortem (pH24), electric conductivity (CE) and muscle redness (a*), lightness (L*) and yellowness (b*). We have found significant genome-wide associations for CE of LD on SSC4 (~104?Mb), SSC5 (~15?Mb) and SSC13 (~137?Mb), while several additional regions were significantly associated with meat quality traits at the chromosome-wide level. There was a low positional concordance between the associations found for LD and GM traits, a feature that reflects the existence of differences in the genetic determinism of meat quality phenotypes in these two muscles. The performance of an eQTL search for SNPs mapping to the regions associated with meat quality traits demonstrated that the GM a* SSC3 and pH24 SSC17 QTL display positional concordance with cis-eQTL regulating the expression of several genes with a potential role on muscle metabolism.
Project description:In the last 20 years, there has been significant research towards defining the genetic basis of lipid metabolism and meat quality related traits in pigs. Nowadays, the study of the transcriptome and its regulatory mechanisms allows going far beyond in the genetic dissection of these complex traits. In present study, a genome-wide eQTL scan aiming to detect pig genome regions regulating levels of skeletal muscle mRNA expression has been performed. This study has been conducted on a commercial Duroc population where a number of QTL for muscle fat deposition and fatty acid composition had been detected. GeneChip Porcine Genome® arrays (Affymetrix) were used to determine the gene expression levels of gluteus medius samples from 105 Duroc pigs belonging to two groups with divergent phenotypes for fatness traits. This experimental design aimed to favour detection of eQTL affecting genes related to lipid metabolism and meat quality traits. The whole genome scan with a panel of 110 microsatellites allowed us detecting 613 genome-wide significant eQTL unequally distributed across the pig genome, SSC5 and SSC3 harbouring the highest number of eQTL. Moreover, 11 genome regions with eQTL affecting the expression levels of a high number of genes (eQTL hot spots) have been described. After mapping target probes and discarding low quality probes, a total of 59 cis- and 396 trans-acting eQTL were retained for further analyses. The functional classification showed that lipid-related GO terms were not the most enriched by the list of eQTL-regulated genes. However, a number of regulated genes functionally related to lipid metabolism and fat deposition traits were identified, and their functional relationship with these phenotypes were further investigated. With this purpose, eQTL results were integrated with 1) QTL linkage maps and 2) correlation data between phenotypes and gene expression levels. As a result, a comprehensive list of 29 positional and functional candidate genes was elaborated. These results represent a valuable contribution to the comprehension of genetic regulation of skeletal muscle individual gene expression in swine species, and a first step towards disentangling gene networks and molecular mechanisms involved in lipid metabolism and meat quality traits. Overall design: 105 gluteus medius samples from 105 animals belonging to two groups of 53 and 52 animals each: HIGH group had higher carcass, plasma and muscle fat content; LOW group had lower carcass, plasma and muscle fat content
Project description:In the last 20 years, there has been significant research towards defining the genetic basis of lipid metabolism and meat quality related traits in pigs. Nowadays, the study of the transcriptome and its regulatory mechanisms allows going far beyond in the genetic dissection of these complex traits. In present study, a genome-wide eQTL scan aiming to detect pig genome regions regulating levels of skeletal muscle mRNA expression has been performed. This study has been conducted on a commercial Duroc population where a number of QTL for muscle fat deposition and fatty acid composition had been detected. GeneChip Porcine Genome® arrays (Affymetrix) were used to determine the gene expression levels of gluteus medius samples from 105 Duroc pigs belonging to two groups with divergent phenotypes for fatness traits. This experimental design aimed to favour detection of eQTL affecting genes related to lipid metabolism and meat quality traits. The whole genome scan with a panel of 110 microsatellites allowed us detecting 613 genome-wide significant eQTL unequally distributed across the pig genome, SSC5 and SSC3 harbouring the highest number of eQTL. Moreover, 11 genome regions with eQTL affecting the expression levels of a high number of genes (eQTL hot spots) have been described. After mapping target probes and discarding low quality probes, a total of 59 cis- and 396 trans-acting eQTL were retained for further analyses. The functional classification showed that lipid-related GO terms were not the most enriched by the list of eQTL-regulated genes. However, a number of regulated genes functionally related to lipid metabolism and fat deposition traits were identified, and their functional relationship with these phenotypes were further investigated. With this purpose, eQTL results were integrated with 1) QTL linkage maps and 2) correlation data between phenotypes and gene expression levels. As a result, a comprehensive list of 29 positional and functional candidate genes was elaborated. These results represent a valuable contribution to the comprehension of genetic regulation of skeletal muscle individual gene expression in swine species, and a first step towards disentangling gene networks and molecular mechanisms involved in lipid metabolism and meat quality traits. 105 gluteus medius samples from 105 animals belonging to two groups of 53 and 52 animals each: HIGH group had higher carcass, plasma and muscle fat content; LOW group had lower carcass, plasma and muscle fat content
Project description:BACKGROUND:Transcription has a substantial genetic control and genetic dissection of gene expression could help us understand the genetic architecture of complex phenotypes such as meat quality in cattle. The objectives of the present research were: 1) to perform eQTL and sQTL mapping analyses for meat quality traits in longissimus dorsi muscle; 2) to uncover genes whose expression is influenced by local or distant genetic variation; 3) to identify expression and splicing hot spots; and 4) to uncover genomic regions affecting the expression of multiple genes. RESULTS:Eighty steers were selected for phenotyping, genotyping and RNA-seq evaluation. A panel of traits related to meat quality was recorded in longissimus dorsi muscle. Information on 112,042 SNPs and expression data on 8588 autosomal genes and 87,770 exons from 8467 genes were included in an expression and splicing quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping (eQTL and sQTL, respectively). A gene, exon and isoform differential expression analysis previously carried out in this population identified 1352 genes, referred to as DEG, as explaining part of the variability associated with meat quality traits. The eQTL and sQTL mapping was performed using a linear regression model in the R package Matrix eQTL. Genotype and year of birth were included as fixed effects, and population structure was accounted for by including as a covariate the first PC from a PCA analysis on genotypic data. The identified QTLs were classified as cis or trans using 1?Mb as the maximum distance between the associated SNP and the gene being analyzed. A total of 8377 eQTLs were identified, including 75.6% trans, 10.4% cis, 12.5% DEG trans and 1.5% DEG cis; while 11,929 sQTLs were uncovered: 66.1% trans, 16.9% DEG trans, 14% cis and 3% DEG cis. Twenty-seven expression master regulators and 13 splicing master regulators were identified and were classified as membrane-associated or cytoskeletal proteins, transcription factors or DNA methylases. These genes could control the expression of other genes through cell signaling or by a direct transcriptional activation/repression mechanism. CONCLUSION:In the present analysis, we show that eQTL and sQTL mapping makes possible positional identification of gene and isoform expression regulators.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Variants that regulate transcription, such as expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL), have shown enrichment in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for mammalian complex traits. However, no study has reported eQTL in sheep, although it is an important agricultural species for which many GWAS of complex meat traits have been conducted. Using RNA sequence data produced from liver and muscle from 149 sheep and imputed whole-genome single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), our aim was to dissect the genetic architecture of the transcriptome by associating sheep genotypes with three major molecular phenotypes including gene expression (geQTL), exon expression (eeQTL) and RNA splicing (sQTL). We also examined these three types of eQTL for their enrichment in GWAS of multi-meat traits and fatty acid profiles.<h4>Results</h4>Whereas a relatively small number of molecular phenotypes were significantly heritable (h<sup>2</sup>?>?0, P?<?0.05), their mean heritability ranged from 0.67 to 0.73 for liver and from 0.71 to 0.77 for muscle. Association analysis between molecular phenotypes and SNPs within?±?1 Mb identified many significant cis-eQTL (false discovery rate, FDR?<?0.01). The median distance between the eQTL and transcription start sites (TSS) ranged from 68 to 153 kb across the three eQTL types. The number of common variants between geQTL, eeQTL and sQTL within each tissue, and the number of common variants between liver and muscle within each eQTL type were all significantly (P?<?0.05) larger than expected by chance. The identified eQTL were significantly (P?<?0.05) enriched in GWAS hits associated with 56 carcass traits and fatty acid profiles. For example, several geQTL in muscle mapped to the FAM184B gene, hundreds of sQTL in liver and muscle mapped to the CAST gene, and hundreds of sQTL in liver mapped to the C6 gene. These three genes are associated with body composition or fatty acid profiles.<h4>Conclusions</h4>We detected a large number of significant eQTL and found that the overlap of variants between eQTL types and tissues was prevalent. Many eQTL were also QTL for meat traits. Our study fills a gap in the knowledge on the regulatory variants and their role in complex traits for the sheep model.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Genetic analysis of gene expression level is a promising approach for characterizing candidate genes that are involved in complex economic traits such as meat quality. In the present study, we conducted expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) and allele-specific expression (ASE) analyses based on RNA-sequencing (RNAseq) data from the longissimus muscle of 189 Duroc?×?Luchuan crossed pigs in order to identify some candidate genes for meat quality traits. RESULTS:Using a genome-wide association study based on a mixed linear model, we identified 7192 cis-eQTL corresponding to 2098 cis-genes (p???1.33e-3, FDR???0.05) and 6400 trans-eQTL corresponding to 863 trans-genes (p???1.13e-6, FDR???0.05). ASE analysis using RNAseq SNPs identified 9815 significant ASE-SNPs in 2253 unique genes. Integrative analysis between the cis-eQTL and ASE target genes identified 540 common genes, including 33 genes with expression levels that were correlated with at least one meat quality trait. Among these 540 common genes, 63 have been reported previously as candidate genes for meat quality traits, such as PHKG1 (q-value?=?1.67e-6 for the leading SNP in the cis-eQTL analysis), NUDT7 (q-value?=?5.67e-13), FADS2 (q-value?=?8.44e-5), and DGAT2 (q-value?=?1.24e-3). CONCLUSIONS:The present study confirmed several previously published candidate genes and identified some novel candidate genes for meat quality traits via eQTL and ASE analyses, which will be useful to prioritize candidate genes in further studies.
Project description:Classical quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis and gene expression QTL (eQTL) were combined to identify the causal gene (or QTG) underlying a highly significant QTL controlling the variation of breast meat color in a F2 cross between divergent high-growth (HG) and low-growth (LG) chicken lines. Within this meat quality QTL, BCMO1 (Accession number GenBank: AJ271386), encoding the ?-carotene 15, 15'-monooxygenase, a key enzyme in the conversion of ?-carotene into colorless retinal, was a good functional candidate. Analysis of the abundance of BCMO1 mRNA in breast muscle of the HG x LG F2 population allowed for the identification of a strong cis eQTL. Moreover, reevaluation of the color QTL taking BCMO1 mRNA levels as a covariate indicated that BCMO1 mRNA levels entirely explained the variations in meat color. Two fully-linked single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) located within the proximal promoter of BCMO1 gene were identified. Haplotype substitution resulted in a marked difference in BCMO1 promoter activity in vitro. The association study in the F2 population revealed a three-fold difference in BCMO1 expression leading to a difference of 1 standard deviation in yellow color between the homozygous birds at this haplotype. This difference in meat yellow color was fully consistent with the difference in carotenoid content (i.e. lutein and zeaxanthin) evidenced between the two alternative haplotypes. A significant association between the haplotype, the level of BCMO1 expression and the yellow color of the meat was also recovered in an unrelated commercial broiler population. The mutation could be of economic importance for poultry production by making possible a gene-assisted selection for color, a determining aspect of meat quality. Moreover, this natural genetic diversity constitutes a new model for the study of ?-carotene metabolism which may act upon diverse biological processes as precursor of the vitamin A.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Detection of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) affecting meat quality traits in pigs is crucial for the design of efficient marker-assisted selection programs and to initiate efforts toward the identification of underlying polymorphisms. The RYR1 and PRKAG3 causative mutations, originally identified from major effects on meat characteristics, can be used both as controls for an overall QTL detection strategy for diversely affected traits and as a scale for detected QTL effects. We report on a microsatellite-based QTL detection scan including all autosomes for pig meat quality and carcass composition traits in an F2 population of 1,000 females and barrows resulting from an intercross between a Pietrain and a Large White-Hampshire-Duroc synthetic sire line. Our QTL detection design allowed side-by-side comparison of the RYR1 and PRKAG3 mutation effects seen as QTLs when segregating at low frequencies (0.03-0.08), with independent QTL effects detected from most of the same population, excluding any carrier of these mutations.<h4>Results</h4>Large QTL effects were detected in the absence of the RYR1 and PRKGA3 mutations, accounting for 12.7% of phenotypic variation in loin colour redness CIE-a* on SSC6 and 15% of phenotypic variation in glycolytic potential on SSC1. We detected 8 significant QTLs with effects on meat quality traits and 20 significant QTLs for carcass composition and growth traits under these conditions. In control analyses including mutation carriers, RYR1 and PRKAG3 mutations were detected as QTLs, from highly significant to suggestive, and explained 53% to 5% of the phenotypic variance according to the trait.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our results suggest that part of muscle development and backfat thickness effects commonly attributed to the RYR1 mutation may be a consequence of linkage with independent QTLs affecting those traits. The proportion of variation explained by the most significant QTLs detected in this work is close to the influence of major-effect mutations on the least affected traits, but is one order of magnitude lower than effect on variance of traits primarily affected by these causative mutations. This suggests that uncovering physiological traits directly affected by genetic polymorphisms would be an appropriate approach for further characterization of QTLs.
Project description:The discovery of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and the subsequent genotyping of large numbers of animals have enabled large-scale analyses to begin to understand the biological processes that underpin variation in animal populations. In beef cattle, genome-wide association studies using genotype arrays have revealed many quantitative trait loci (QTL) for various production traits such as growth, efficiency and meat quality. Most studies regarding meat quality have focused on marbling, which is a key trait associated with meat eating quality. However, other important traits like meat color, texture and fat color have not commonly been studied. Developments in genome sequencing technologies provide new opportunities to identify regions associated with these traits more precisely. The objective of this study was to estimate variance components and identify significant variants underpinning variation in meat quality traits using imputed whole genome sequence data. Phenotypic and genomic data from 2,110 Hanwoo cattle were used. The estimated heritabilities for the studied traits were 0.01, 0.16, 0.31, and 0.49 for fat color, meat color, meat texture and marbling score, respectively. Marbling score and meat texture were highly correlated. The genome-wide association study revealed 107 significant SNPs located on 14 selected chromosomes (one QTL region per selected chromosome). Four QTL regions were identified on BTA2, 12, 16, and 24 for marbling score and two QTL regions were found for meat texture trait on BTA12 and 29. Similarly, three QTL regions were identified for meat color on BTA2, 14 and 24 and five QTL regions for fat color on BTA7, 10, 12, 16, and 21. Candidate genes were identified for all traits, and their potential influence on the given trait was discussed. The significant SNP will be an important inclusion into commercial genotyping arrays to select new breeding animals more accurately.