Genetic Architecture of Carcass and Meat Quality Traits in Montana Tropical® Composite Beef Cattle.
ABSTRACT: The Montana Tropical® Composite is a recently developed beef cattle population that is rapidly expanding in Brazil and other tropical countries. This is mainly due to its improved meat quality and adaptation to tropical climate conditions compared to Zebu and Taurine cattle breeds, respectively. This study aimed to investigate the genetic architecture of ultrasound-based carcass and meat quality traits in Montana Tropical® Composite beef cattle. Therefore, we estimated variance components and genetic parameters and performed genome-wide association studies using the weighted single-step Genomic Best Linear Unbiased Prediction (GBLUP) approach. A pedigree dataset containing 28,480 animals was used, in which 1,436 were genotyped using a moderate-density Single Nucleotide Polymorphism panel (30K; 30,105 SNPs). A total of 9,358, 5,768, 7,996, and 1,972 phenotypic records for the traits Longissimus muscle area (LMA), backfat thickness (BFT), rump fat thickness (RFT), and for marbling score (MARB), respectively, were used for the analyses. Moderate to high heritability estimates were obtained and ranged from 0.16 ± 0.03 (RFT) to 0.33 ± 0.05 (MARB). A high genetic correlation was observed between BFT and RFT (0.97 ± 0.02), suggesting that a similar set of genes affects both traits. The most relevant genomic regions associated with LMA, BFT, RFT, and MARB were found on BTA10 (5.4-5.8 Mb), BTA27 (25.2-25.5 Mb), BTA18 (60.6-61.0 Mb), and BTA21 (14.8-15.4 Mb). Two overlapping genomic regions were identified for RFT and MARB (BTA13:47.9-48.1 Mb) and for BFT and RFT (BTA13:61.5-62.3 Mb). Candidate genes identified in this study, including PLAG1, LYN, WWOX, and PLAGL2, were previously reported to be associated with growth, stature, skeletal muscle growth, fat thickness, and fatty acid composition. Our results indicate that ultrasound-based carcass and meat quality traits in the Montana Tropical® Composite beef cattle are heritable, and therefore, can be improved through selective breeding. In addition, various novel and already known genomic regions related to these traits were identified, which contribute to a better understanding of the underlying genetic background of LMA, BFT, RFT, and MARB in the Montana Tropical Composite population.
Project description:Hierarchical cluster (HCA) and canonical correlation (CCA) analyses were employed to explore the multivariate relationships among chemical components (proximate, mineral and lipidic components) of lean beef <i>longissimus dorsii lumborum</i> (LDL) and selected carcass traits of cattle fattened on pasture under tropical conditions (bulls, <i>n</i> = 60; steers, <i>n</i> = 60; from 2.5 to 4.0 years of age, estimated by dentition). The variables backfat thickness (BFT), Ca, Mn, Cu, C14:0, C15:0, and C20:0 showed the highest coefficients of variation. Three clusters were defined by the HCA. Out of all carcass traits, only BFT differed significantly (<i>p</i> < 0.001) among clusters. Clusters significantly (<i>p</i> < 0.001) differed for total lipids (TLIPIDS), moisture, dry matter (DM), fatty acid composition, cholesterol content, and mineral composition (except for Fe). The variables that define the canonical variate "CARCASS" were BFT and degree of marbling (MARBLING). TLIPIDS was the main variable for the "PROXIMATE" canonical variate, while C16:0 and C18:1<i>c</i> had the most relevant contribution to the "LIPIDS" canonical variate. BFT and MARBLING were highly cross-correlated with TLIPIDS which, in turn, was significantly affected by the IM lipid content. Carcass traits were poorly correlated with mineral content. These findings allow for the possibility to develop selection criteria based on BFT and/or marbling to sort carcasses, from grass-fed cattle fattened under tropical conditions, with differing nutritional values. Further analyses are needed to study the effects of sex condition on the associations among carcass traits and lipidic components.
Project description:Residual feed intake (RFI) gained attention as a potential alternative to the feed conversion ratio (FCR). Thus, this study aimed to estimate genetic parameters for different feed efficiency (FE) traits (FCR, RFI1 to RFI5) and their genetic correlation to on-test daily weight gain (ADG), backfat (BFT), loin muscle area (LMA), lean percentage (LP), and total feed intake (FI) for 603 Male Duroc (DD), 295 Landrace (LL), and 341 Yorkshire (YY). The common spatial pen effect was also estimated in these traits. Five RFI measures were estimated by regressing daily feed intake on initial testing age (ITA), initial testing weight (IBW), and ADG for RFI1; other models were the same as RFI1 except for additional BFT for RFI2; LMA for RFI3; BFT and LMA for RFI4; BFT, LMA, and average metabolic body weight (AMBW) instead of IBW for RFI5. Genetic parameters estimated using two animal models and the REML method showed moderate heritability for FCR in all breeds (0.22 and 0.28 for DD, 0.31 and 0.39 for LL, 0.17 and 0.22 for YY), low heritability for the majority of RFI measures in DD (0.15 to 0.23) and YY (0.14 to 0.20) and moderate heritability for all RFI measures in LL (0.31 to 0.34). Pen variance explained 7% to 22% for FE and 0% to 9% for production traits' phenotypic variance. The genetic correlation revealed that selection against less complex RFI1 in DD and LL and RFI2 in YY would bring the most advantageous reduction to FI (0.71 for DD, 0.49 for LL, 0.43 YY) without affecting ADG in all breeds (0.06 for DD, -0.11 for LL, 0.05 for YY), decrease in BFT, and increase in LP in DD (0.51 in BFT, -0.77 in LP) and LL (0.45 in BFT, -0.83 in LP). Therefore, inclusion of these breed-specific RFI measures in the future selection criteria would help improve feed efficiency in the swine industry.
Project description:Hanwoo, is the most popular native beef cattle in South Korea. Due to its extensive popularity, research is ongoing to enhance its carcass quality and marbling traits. In this study we conducted a haplotype-based genome-wide association study (GWAS) by constructing haplotype blocks by three methods: number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a haplotype block (nsnp), length of genomic region in kb (Len) and linkage disequilibrium (LD). Significant haplotype blocks and genes associated with them were identified for carcass traits such as BFT (back fat thickness), EMA (eye Muscle area), CWT (carcass weight) and MS (marbling score). Gene-set enrichment analysis and functional annotation of genes in the significantly-associated loci revealed candidate genes, including PLCB1 and PLCB4 present on BTA13, coding for phospholipases, which might be important candidates for increasing fat deposition due to their role in lipid metabolism and adipogenesis. CEL (carboxyl ester lipase), a bile-salt activated lipase, responsible for lipid catabolic process was also identified within the significantly-associated haplotype block on BTA11. The results were validated in a different Hanwoo population. The genes and pathways identified in this study may serve as good candidates for improving carcass traits in Hanwoo cattle.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The Nordic Red Cattle (NRC) consists of animls belonging to the Danish Red, Finnish Ayrshire, and Swedish Red breeds. Compared to the Holstein breed, NRC animals are smaller, have a shorter calving interval, lower mastitis incidence and lower rates of stillborn calves, however they produce less milk, fat and protein. Female fertility is an important trait for the dairy cattle farmer. Selection decisions in female fertilty in NRC are based on the female fertility index (FTI). FTI is a composite index including a number of sub-indices describing aspects of female fertility in dairy cattle. The sub-traits of FTI are: number of inseminations per conception (AIS) in cows (C) and heifers (H), the length in days of the interval from calving to first insemination (ICF) in cows, days from first to last insemination (IFL) in cows and heifers, and 56-day non-return rate (NRR) in cows and heifers. The aim of this study was first to identify QTL for FTI by conducting a genome scan for variants associated with fertility index using imputed whole genome sequence data based on 4207 Nordic Red sires, and subsequently analyzing which of the sub-traits were affected by each FTI QTL by associating them with the sub-traits.<h4>Results</h4>A total 17,388 significant SNP markers (-log10(P) > 8.25) were detected for FTI distributed over 25 chromosomes. The chromosomes with the most significant markers were tested for associations with the underlying sub-traits: BTA1 (822 SNP), BTA2 (220 SNP), BTA3 (83 SNP), BTA5 (195 SNP), two regions on BTA6 (503 SNP), BTA13 (980 SNP), BTA15 (23 SNP), BTA20 (345 SNP), and BTA24 (104 SNP). The fertility traits underlying the FTI peak area were: BTA1 (IFLC, IFLH), BTA2 (AISH, IFLH, NRRH), BTA3 (AISH, NRRH), BTA5 (AISC, AISH, IFLH), BTA6 (region 1: AISH, NRRH; region 2: AISH, IFLH), BTA13 (IFLH, IFLC), BTA15 (IFLC, NRRH), and BTA24 (AISH, IFLH). For BTA20 all sub-traits had SNP markers with a -log10(P) > 10. Furthermore the genes assigned to the most significant SNP for FTI were located on BTA6 (GPR125), BTA13 (ANKRD60), BTA15 (GRAMD1B), and BTA24 (ZNF521).<h4>Conclusion</h4>This study 1) shows that many markers within FTI QTL regions were significantly associated with both AISH and IFLH, and 2) identified candidate genes for FTI located on BTA6 (GPR125), BTA13 (ANKRD60), BTA15 (GRAMD1B), and BTA24 (ZNF521). It is not known how the genes/variants identified in this study regulate female fertility, however the majority of these genes were involved in protein binding, 3) a SNP in a QTL region for FTI on BTA20 was previously validated in three cattle breeds.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Female fertility is important for the maintenance of the production in a dairy cattle herd. Two QTL regions on BTA04 and on BTA13 previously detected in Nordic Holstein (NH) and validated in the Danish Jersey (DJ) and Nordic Red (NR) were investigated further in the present study to further refine the QTL locations. Refined QTL regions were imputed to the full sequence data. The genes in the regions were then studied to ascertain their possible effect on fertility traits. RESULTS: BTA04 was screened for number of inseminations (AIS), 56-day non-return rate (NRR), days from first to last insemination (IFL), and the interval from calving to first insemination (ICF) in the range of 38,257,758 to 40,890,784 bp, whereas BTA13 was screened for ICF only in the range from 21,236,959 to 46,150,079 with the HD bovine SNP array for NH, DJ and NR. No markers in the DJ and NR breeds reached significance. By analyzing imputed sequence data the QTL position on BTA04 was narrowed down to two regions in the NH. In these two regions a total of 9 genes were identified. BTA13 was analyzed using sequence data for the NH breed. The highest -log10(P-value) was 19.41 at 33,903,159 bp. Two regions were identified: Region 1: 33,900,143-33,908,994 bp and Region 2: 34,051,815-34,056,728 bp. SNPs within and between these two regions were annotated as intergenic. CONCLUSION: Screening BTA04 and BTA13 for female fertility traits in NH, NR and DJ suggested that the QTL for female fertility were specific for NH. A missense mutation in CD36 showed the strongest association with fertility traits on BTA04. The annotated SNPs on BTA13 were all intergenic variants. It is possible that BTA13 at this stage is poorly annotated such that the associated polymorphisms are located in as-yet undiscovered genes. Fertility traits are complex traits as many different biological and physiological factors determine whether a cow is fertile. Therefore it is not expected that there is a simple explanation with an obvious candidate gene but it is more likely a network of genes and intragenic variants that explain the variation of these traits.
Project description:Commercial cuts yield is an important trait for beef production, which affects the final value of the products, but its direct determination is a challenging procedure to be implemented in practice. The measurement of ribeye area (REA) and backfat thickness (BFT) can be used as indirect measures of meat yield. REA and BFT are important traits studied in beef cattle due to their strong implication in technological (carcass yield) and nutritional characteristics of meat products, like the degree of muscularity and total body fat. Thus, the aim of this work was to study the Longissimus dorsi muscle transcriptome of Nellore cattle, associated with REA and BFT, to find differentially expressed (DE) genes, metabolic pathways, and biological processes that may regulate these traits.By comparing the gene expression level between groups with extreme genomic estimated breeding values (GEBV), 101 DE genes for REA and 18 for BFT (false discovery rate, FDR 10%) were identified. Functional enrichment analysis for REA identified two KEGG pathways, MAPK (Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase) signaling pathway and endocytosis pathway, and three biological processes, response to endoplasmic reticulum stress, cellular protein modification process, and macromolecule modification. The MAPK pathway is responsible for fundamental cellular processes, such as growth, differentiation, and hypertrophy. For BFT, 18 biological processes were found to be altered and grouped into 8 clusters of semantically similar terms. The DE genes identified in the biological processes for BFT were ACHE, SRD5A1, RSAD2 and RSPO3. RSAD2 has been previously shown to be associated with lipid droplet content and lipid biosynthesis.In this study, we identified genes, metabolic pathways, and biological processes, involved in differentiation, proliferation, protein turnover, hypertrophy, as well as adipogenesis and lipid biosynthesis related to REA and BFT. These results enlighten some of the molecular processes involved in muscle and fat deposition, which are economically important carcass traits for beef production.
Project description:The species-rich arborescent assemblages of humid tropical forests encompass much of the known range of the leaf economics spectrum, often including >20-fold variation in leaf lifespan. This suite of traits underpins a life-history continuum from fast-growing pioneers to slow-growing shade-tolerant species. Less is known about the range of leaf traits in humid temperate forests, and there are conflicting reports about relationships of these traits with the light requirements of temperate evergreen angiosperms. Here I quantify the range of leaf functional traits in a New Zealand temperate evergreen forest, and relationships of these traits with light requirements of juvenile trees and shrubs. Foliage turnover of saplings of 19 evergreen angiosperms growing beneath gaps (12-29% canopy openness) and in understories (1.2-2.9%) was measured over 12 months. Dry mass per area (LMA), dry matter content, thickness, density and nitrogen content (N) of leaves were also measured. Species minimum light requirements were indexed as the 10th percentile of the distribution of saplings in relation to canopy openness. Interspecific variation of leaf lifespan was ?6-fold in gaps (0.6 to 3.8 yrs), and ?11-fold in the understorey (0.7 to 7.7 yrs). Six small tree and shrub species are effectively leaf-exchangers, with leaf lifespans of c.1 year in gaps-albeit usually longer in the shade. Interspecific variation in other leaf traits was 2.5 to 4-fold. Lifespans and LMA of both sun and shade leaves were negatively correlated with species light requirements i.e., positively correlated with shade tolerance. However, light environment (gap vs shade) explained about the same amount of variation in LMA as species' identity did. Species light requirements were not significantly correlated with leaf N, dry matter content, density or thickness-except for a marginally significant correlation with dry matter content of shade leaves. Species light requirements were thus less consistently related to leaf structural traits than appears to be the case in humid tropical forests. Whereas the wide interspecific variation in leaf economic traits of tropical rainforest species outweighs plastic response to light availability, temperate evergreen woody angiosperms appear to occupy a narrower range of the leaf economic spectrum. Standardization of the light environments in which LMA is measured is vital in comparative studies of humid temperate forest evergreens, because of countergradient responses of this trait to light, and because of the relative magnitudes of plastic and interspecific variation in LMA in these forests.
Project description:Karst hills, that is, jagged topography created by dissolution of limestone and other soluble rocks, are distributed extensively in tropical forest regions, including southern parts of China. They are characterized by a sharp mosaic of water and nutrient availability, from exposed hilltops with poor soil development to valleys with occasional flooding, to which trees show species-specific distributions. Here we report the relationship of leaf functional traits to habitat preference of tropical karst trees. We described leaf traits of 19 tropical tree species in a seasonal karst rainforest in Guangxi Province, China, 12 species in situ and 13 ex situ in a non-karst arboretum, which served as a common garden, with six species sampled in both. We examined how the measured leaf traits differed in relation to species' habitat affinity and evaluated trait consistency between natural habitats vs. the arboretum. Leaf mass per area (LMA) and optical traits (light absorption and reflectance characteristics between 400 and 1,050 nm) showed significant associations with each other and habitats, with hilltop species showing high values of LMA and low values of photochemical reflectance index (PRI). For the six species sampled in both the karst forest and the arboretum, LMA, leaf dry matter content, stomatal density, and vein length per area showed inconsistent within-species variations, whereas some traits (stomatal pore index and lamina thickness) were similar between the two sites. In conclusion, trees specialized in exposed karst hilltops with little soils are characterized by thick leaves with high tissue density indicative of conservative resources use, and this trait syndrome could potentially be sensed remotely with PRI.
Project description:Background The goat (Capra hircus) represents one of the most important farm animal species. It is reared in all continents with an estimated world population of about 800 million of animals. Despite its importance, studies on the goat genome are still in their infancy compared to those in other farm animal species. Comparative mapping between cattle and goat showed only a few rearrangements in agreement with the similarity of chromosome banding. We carried out a cross species cattle-goat array comparative genome hybridization (aCGH) experiment in order to identify copy number variations (CNVs) in the goat genome analysing animals of different breeds (Saanen, Camosciata delle Alpi, Girgentana, and Murciano-Granadina) using a tiling oligonucleotide array with ~385,000 probes designed on the bovine genome. Results We identified a total of 161 CNVs (an average of 17.9 CNVs per goat), with the largest number in the Saanen breed and the lowest in the Camosciata delle Alpi goat. By aggregating overlapping CNVs identified in different animals we determined CNV regions (CNVRs): on the whole, we identified 127 CNVRs covering about 11.47 Mb of the virtual goat genome referred to the bovine genome (0.435% of the latter genome). These 127 CNVRs included 86 loss and 41 gain and ranged from about 24 kb to about 1.07 Mb with a mean and median equal to 90,292 bp and 49,530 bp, respectively. To evaluate whether the identified goat CNVRs overlap with those reported in the cattle genome, we compared our results with those obtained in four independent cattle experiments. Overlapping between goat and cattle CNVRs was highly significant (P<0.0001) suggesting that several chromosome regions might contain recurrent interspecies CNVRs. Genes with environmental functions were over-represented in goat CNVRs as reported in other mammals. Conclusions We describe a first map of goat CNVRs. This provides information on a comparative basis with the cattle genome by identifying putative recurrent interspecies CNVs between these two ruminant species. Several goat CNVs affect genes with important biological functions. Further studies are needed to evaluate the functional relevance of these CNVs and their effects on behavior, production, and disease resistance traits in goats. We analysed CNVs in the goat genome by means of a cross-species aCGH experiment using the Roche NimbleGen platform (Roche NimbleGen Inc., Madison, WI; http://www.nimblegen.com) based on custom tiling arrays designed on the bovine (Bos taurus) genome, Btau_4.0 version, including a fraction of BTA13 of the University of Maryland (UMD) Bos taurus v. 2.0 assembly (ftp://ftp.cbcb.umd.edu/pub/data/Bos_taurus/Bos_taurus_UMD_2.0/). Arrays contained ~385,000 probes on a single slide to provide an evenly distributed coverage with an average interval of ~6 kb for the Btau_4.0 genome. The BTA13 of the UMD v. 2.0 assembly was included from nucleotide position 48 M bp to nucleotide position 78 M bp (4,673 oligonucleotides and average spacing of ~6 kb). This chromosome region was analysed as internal control because it contains the ASIP gene, not assembled in the BTA13 of the Btau_4.0 version Goat genomic DNA was extracted from blood of 2 Camosciata delle Alpi, 3 Girgentana, 3 Saanen, 1 black and 1 brown Murciano-Granadina goats using the Wizard® Genomic DNA Purification kit (Promega Corporation, Madison, WI). All analysed animals were females. Reference DNA sample of one (C1) Camosciata delle Alpi goat was labeled with Cy5 and co-hybridised with the other test DNA samples labelled with Cy3 on 9 different arrays. A self hybridisation (reference labelled by both Cy5 and Cy3) was carried out in another array. Hybridization and array scanning were performed by Roche NimbleGen as previously described. Data normalization was conducted using the normalize.qsline method from the Bioconductor package in R. Then data were analysed for each hybridization using normalized log2 ratios using the CGHweb server (http://compbio.med.harvard.edu/CGHweb/) that includes multiple algorithms.
Project description:Multitrait meta-analyses are a strategy to produce more accurate genome-wide association studies, especially for complex phenotypes. We carried out a meta-analysis study for traits related to sexual precocity in tropical beef cattle (Nellore and Brahman) aiming to identify important genomic regions affecting these traits. The traits included in the analyses were age at first calving (AFC), early pregnancy (EP), age at first corpus luteum (AGECL), first postpartum anoestrus interval (PPAI), and scrotal circumference (SC). The traits AFC, EP, and SCN were measured in Nellore cattle, while AGECL, PPAI, and SCB were measured in Brahman cattle. Meta-analysis resulted in 108 significant single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), at an empirical threshold P-value of 1.39 × 10-5 (false discovery rate [FDR] < 0.05). Within 0.5 Mb of the significant SNP, candidate genes were annotated and analyzed for functional enrichment. Most of the closest genes to the SNP with higher significance in each chromosome have been associated with important roles in reproductive function. They are TSC22D2, KLF7, ARHGAP29, 7SK, MAP3K5, TLE3, WDR5, TAF3, TMEM68, PPP1R15B, NR2F2, GALR1, SUFU, and KCNU1. We did not observe any significant SNP in BTA5, BTA12, BTA17, BTA18, BTA19, BTA20, BTA22, BTA23, BTA25, and BTA28. Although the majority of significant SNPs are in BTA14, it was identified significant associations in multiple chromosomes (19 out of 29 autosomes), which is consistent with the postulation that reproductive traits are complex polygenic phenotypes. Five proposed association regions harbor the majority of the significant SNP (76%) and were distributed over four chromosomes (P < 1.39 × 10-5, FDR < 0.05): BTA2 (5.55%) from 95 to 96 Mb, BTA4 (5.55%) from 94.1 to 94.8 Mb, BTA14 (59.26%) from 24 to 25 Mb and 29 to 30 Mb, and BTA21 (5.55%) from 6.7 Mb to 11.4 Mb. These regions harbored key genes related to reproductive function. Moreover, these genes were enriched for functional groups associated with immune response, maternal-fetal tolerance, pregnancy maintenance, embryo development, fertility, and response to stress. Further studies including other breeds and precocity traits could confirm the importance of these regions and identify new candidate regions for sexual precocity in beef cattle.