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Front. Genet. | doi: 10.3389/fgene.2018.00057

Convergent evolution of slick coat in cattle through truncation mutations in the prolactin receptor

 Laercio R. Porto-Neto1,  Derek M. Bickhart2, Antonio J. Landaeta-Hernandez3,  Yuri T. Utsunomiya4, 5, Melvin Pagan6,  Esbal Jimenez6,  Peter J. Hansen7,  Serdal Dikmen8,  Steven G. Schroeder9, Eui-Soo Kim10, Jiajie Sun11,  Edward Crespo3, Norman Amati3,  John B. Cole9, Daniel Null9, Jose Fernando Garcia4, 5, 12, Antonio Reverter1, William Barendse1 and  Tad S. Sonstegard10*
  • 1Agriculture and Food, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia
  • 2Agricultural Research Service, US Dairy Forage Research Center, United States Department of Agriculture, United States
  • 3Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias. Unidad de Investigaciones Zootécnicas, University of Zulia, Venezuela
  • 4School of Agricultural and Veterinarian Sciences, Department of Preventive Veterinary Medicine and Animal Reproduction, Sao Paulo State University, Brazil
  • 5International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Brazil
  • 6Department of Animal Science, University of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico
  • 7Department of Animal Science, University of Florida, United States
  • 8Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Uludağ University, Turkey
  • 9Agricultural Research Service, Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture, United States
  • 10Recombinetics (United States), United States
  • 11South China Agricultural University, China
  • 12School of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Support, Production and Animal Health, Sao Paulo State University, Brazil

Evolutionary adaptations are occasionally convergent solutions to the same problem. A mutation contributing to a heat tolerance adaptation in Senepol cattle, a New World breed of mostly European descent, results in the distinct phenotype known as slick, where an animal has shorter hair and lower follicle density across its coat than wild-type animals. The causal variant, located in the 11th exon of prolactin receptor, produces a frameshift that results in a truncated protein. However, this mutation does not explain all cases of slick coats found in criollo breeds. Here, we obtained genome sequences from slick cattle of a geographically distinct criollo breed, namely Limonero, whose ancestors were originally brought to the Americas by the Spanish. These data were used to identify new causal alleles in the 11th exon of the prolactin receptor, two of which also encode shortened proteins that remove a highly conserved tyrosine residue. These new mutations explained almost 90% of investigated cases of animals that had slick coats, but which also did not carry the Senepol slick allele. These results demonstrate convergent evolution at the molecular level in a trait important to the adaptation of an animal to its environment.

Keywords: Cattle, evolution, convergent, Livestock, SNP, NGS, prolactin receptor

Received: 28 Aug 2017; Accepted: 08 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Martien Groenen, Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands

Reviewed by:

Hendrik-Jan Megens, Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands
Alessandra Stella, Istituto di Biologia e Biotecnologia Agraria (CNR), Italy  

Copyright: © 2018 Porto-Neto, Bickhart, Landaeta-Hernandez, Utsunomiya, Pagan, Jimenez, Hansen, Dikmen, Schroeder, Kim, Sun, Crespo, Amati, Cole, Null, Garcia, Reverter, Barendse and Sonstegard. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mr. Tad S. Sonstegard, Recombinetics (United States), Saint Paul, United States,