Selection signatures of fat tail in sheep

Risultato della ricerca: Otherpeer review


The investigation of the genes with a role in lipid metabolism enjoy considerable scientific and commercial interest because of the strong correlations between fat deposition and the risk of cardiovascular disease. The fat tail characteristic of sheep is the adaptive response to harsh environment, and beyond representing a valuable energy reserve for facing future climate changes provides clues for elucidating the physiology of fat deposition. Studies on various sheep populations detected fat-tail signatures on chromosomes 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 13. Fat-tailed sheep represent about 25% of the world’s sheep population, and the genes with a role in this phenotype are likely not the same for every breed, since the wild ancestor of sheep had a thin tail, and the fat tail was selected by humans in longstanding husbandry practices in different regions. In the present work, a genome-wide scan using ~50,000 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms was performed to identify selection signatures for the f at tail in the Barbaresca sheep, an Italian breed originating from North Africa. Fst values of differentiation, and χ2 test of significance of allele frequency were calculated, for each marker, between the Barbaresca and each of 13 Italian thin-tailed breeds. Strong signals of selection were detected for all 13 breeds on chromosome 6, in a region encoding the SLIT homolog 2 gene, this gene acting as a molecular guidance cue in cellular migration. The signature on chromosome 7 was very strong only in some of the breeds used for comparison: the detected signal was located in proximity of the Vertnin gene, a candidate for variation in vertebral number, and was already revealed in Iranian and Mediterranean fat-tailed breeds, but not in the Chinese sheep, so confirming the complexity of the fat-tail phenotype, which is associated in some breeds to long and pendulous tail, while, in other breeds, to the short tail.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Numero di pagine0
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2017


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