Identification of genetic loci associated with growth traits at weaning in yak through a genome-wide association study


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Abstract

Summary:A multilocus GWAS was performed to explore the genetic architecture of four growth traits in yak. In total, 354 female yaks for which measurements of body weight (BW), withers height (WH), body length (BL) and chest girth (CG) at weaning were available underwent genotyping with the Illumina BovineHD BeadChip (770K). After quality control, we retained 98 688 SNPs and 354 animals for GWAS analysis. We identified seven, 18, seven and nine SNPs (corresponding to seven, 17, seven and eight candidate genes) associated with BW, WH, BL and CG at weaning respectively. Interestingly, most of these candidate genes were reported to be involved in growth-related processes such as muscle formation, lipid deposition, feed efficiency, carcass composition and development of the central and peripheral nervous system. Our results offer novel insight into the molecular architecture underpinning yak growth traits. Further functional analyses are thus warranted to explore the molecular mechanisms whereby these genes affect these traits of interest.

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