Genome-wide scan highlights the role of candidate genes on phenotypic plasticity for age at first calving in Nellore heifers

Lucio F. M. Mota, Fernando B. Lopes, Gerardo A. Fernandes Júnior, Guilherme J. M. Rosa, Ana F. B. Magalhães, Roberto Carvalheiro, Lucia G. Albuquerque
2020 Scientific Reports  
Age at first calving (AFC) plays an important role in the economic efficiency of beef cattle production. This trait can be affected by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, leading to physiological changes in response to heifers' adaptation to a wide range of environments. Genome-wide association studies through the reaction norm model were carried out to identify genomic regions associated with AFC in Nellore heifers, raised under different environmental conditions (EC). The SNP
more » ... ions (EC). The SNP effects for AFC were estimated in three EC levels (Low, Medium, and High, corresponding to average contemporary group effects on yearling body weight equal to 159.40, 228.6 and 297.6 kg, respectively), which unraveled shared and unique genomic regions for AFC in Low, Medium, and High EC levels, that varied according to the genetic correlation between AFC in different EC levels. The significant genomic regions harbored key genes that might play an important biological role in controlling hormone signaling and metabolism. Shared genomic regions among EC levels were identified on BTA 2 and 14, harboring candidate genes associated with energy metabolism (IGFBP2, IGFBP5, SHOX, SMARCAL1, LYN, RPS20, MOS, PLAG1, CHCD7, and SDR16C6). Gene set enrichment analyses identified important biological functions related to growth, hormone levels affecting female fertility, physiological processes involved in female pregnancy, gamete generation, ovulation cycle, and age at puberty. The genomic regions highlighted differences in the physiological processes linked to AFC in different EC levels and metabolic processes that support complex interactions between the gonadotropic axes and sexual precocity in Nellore heifers.
doi:10.1038/s41598-020-63516-4 pmid:32296097 fatcat:uam7chqynfahdmh2xqkxifdr6i