Associations between single-nucleotide polymorphisms of melanocortin gene and sexual desire behavior in rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

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Understanding the genetic basis of polymorphisms which can affect the sexual desire behavior of rabbit doe is important. This study was designed to investigate the association of 2 parts of melanocortin gene (MC4R-1, MC4R-2) polymorphism and the sexual desire behavior for V-line rabbits. V-line does were divided according to their ability to mate into group 1 “receptive does” (high sexual desire) and group 2 “nonreceptive does” (low sexual desire) to identify DNA markers useful for association studies with the sexual desire behavior. DNA from blood samples of each group was extracted to amplify the MC4R gene. The purified polymerase chain reaction products were sequenced in those who had the highest and lowest sexual desire in rabbit line. Alignment of sequence data from each group revealed the following results: there is a variation detected in MC4R-1 between the 2 groups at nucleotide 35 (T-G) (sense mutation) while we detected another variation at nucleotide 19 (T-C) in MC4R-2 gene (sense mutation) of low sexual desire does. The results of average individual body weight of does for the 2 groups indicated that does in group 1 had significantly (P ≤ 0.05) lower body weight than does in group 2. The analysis of individual body weight and sexual desire behavior of does revealed a significant association between MC4R polymorphism and the sexual desire behavior in rabbits.

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