Assessment of selection mapping near themyostatingene (GDF-8) in cattle


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Abstract

SummaryDomestic species provide a unique opportunity to examine the effects of selection on the genome. The myostatin gene (GDF-8) has been under strong selection in a number of cattle breeds because of its influence on muscle conformation and association with the ‘double-muscling’ phenotype. This study examined genetic diversity near this gene in a set of breeds including some nearly fixed for the allele associated with double-muscling (MH), some where the allele is segregating at intermediate frequency and some where the allele is absent. A set of microsatellites and SNPs were used to examine patterns of diversity at the centromeric end of bovine chromosome 2, the region where GDF-8 is located, using various statistical methods. The putative position of a selected gene was moved across the genomic region to determine, by regression, a best position of reduced heterozygosity. Additional analyses examined extended homozygous regions and linkage disequilibrium patterns. While the SNP data was not found to be very informative for selection mapping in this dataset, analyses of the microsatellite data provided evidence of selection on GDF-8 in several breeds. These results suggested that, of the breeds examined, the allele was most recently introduced into the South Devon. Limitations to the selection-mapping approach were highlighted from the analysis of the SNP data and the situation where the MH allele was at intermediate frequency.

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