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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Genet. | doi: 10.3389/fgene.2019.01183

Transcriptome analysis identifies candidate genes and pathways associated with feed efficiency in Hu sheep

Deyin Zhang1, Xiaoxue Zhang1,  Fadi Li1,  Chong Li1, Yongfu La1, Futao Mo1, Guoze Li1, Yukun Zhang1, Xiaolong Li1, Qizhi Song1, Yuan Zhao1 and  Weimin Wang1*
  • 1Gansu Agricultural University, China

In the genetic improvement of livestock and poultry, residual feed intake (RFI) is an important economic trait. However, in sheep, the genetic regulatory mechanisms of RFI are unclear. In the present study, we measured the feed efficiency (FE)-related phenotypes of 137 male Hu lambs, and selected six lambs with very high (n = 3) and very low (n = 3) RFI values and analyzed their liver transcriptomes. A total of 101 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified, of which 40 were upregulated and 61 were downregulated in the Low-RFI group compared with that in the High-RFI group. The downregulated genes were mainly concentrated in immune function pathways, while the upregulated genes were mainly involved in energy metabolism pathways. Two DEGs, ADRA2A (encoding adrenoceptor alpha 2A) and RYR2 (ryanodine receptor 2), were selected as candidate genes for feed efficiency and subjected to single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) scanning and association analysis. Two synonymous mutations, ADRA2A g.1429 C > A and RYR2 g.1117 A > C, were detected, which were both significantly associated with the feed conversion rate. These findings provide a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating feed efficiency, and reveal key genes and genetic variants that could be used to genetically improve feed efficiency in sheep.

Keywords: Sheep, feed efficiency, residual feed intake, Differentially expressed genes, Single nucleotide polymorphism

Received: 21 Jun 2019; Accepted: 24 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Zhang, Zhang, Li, Li, La, Mo, Li, Zhang, Li, Song, Zhao and Wang. 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(s) 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: Prof. Weimin Wang, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou, Gansu Province, China, wangwm@gsau.edu.cn