Dynamics of genomic architecture during composite breed development in cattle

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SummarySome livestock breeds face the challenge of reduced genetic variation, increased inbreeding depression owing to genetic drift and selection. Hybridization can reverse these processes and increase levels of productivity and adaptation to various environmental stressors. Samples from American Brangus were used to evaluate the indicine/taurine composition through nine generations (˜45 years) after the hybridization process was completed. The purpose was to determine how hybridization alters allelic combinations of a breed over time when genetic factors such as selection and drift are operating. Furthermore, we explored genomic regions with deviations from the expected composition from the progenitor breeds and related these regions to traits under selection. The Brangus composition deviated from the theoretical expectation, defined by the breed association, of 62.5% taurine, showing taurine composition to be 70.4 ± 0.6%. Taurine and indicine proportion were not consistent across chromosomes. Furthermore, these non-uniform areas were found to be associated with traits that were probably under selection such as intermuscular fat and average daily gain. Interestingly, the sex chromosomes were predominantly taurine, which could be due to the composite being formed particularly in the final cross that resulted in progeny designated as purebred Brangus. This work demonstrated the process of new breed formation on a genomic level. It suggests that factors like genetic drift, selection and complementarity shift the genetic architecture into a uniquely different population. These findings are important to better understand how hybridization and crossbreeding systems shape the genetic architecture of composite populations.

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