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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Genome-wide association study reveals novel candidate genes for litter size in Markhoz goats

Mahmoudi, Peyman; Rashidi, Amir; Nazari-Ghadikolaei, Anahit; Rostamzadeh, Jalal; Razmkabir, Mohammad; Huson, Heather Jay


IntroductionThe Markhoz goat is the only breed that can produce high-quality fiber called mohair in Iran; however, the size of its population has faced a dramatic decline during the last decades, mainly due to the reluctance of farmers to rear Markhoz goats caused by a reduction in goat production income. Litter size at birth (LSB) and weaning (LSW) are two economically important reproductive traits for local goat breeders and have the potential of increasing the population growth rate. The present study was aimed to identify possible genomic regions that are associated with LSB and LSW in Markhoz goats using a genome-wide association study (GWAS). MethodsTo this end, 136 Markhoz goats with record(s) of kidding were selected for GWAS using the Illumina Caprine 50K bead chip. The individual breeding values (BV) of available LSB and LSW records estimated under an animal mixed model were used as the dependent variable in the GWAS, thereby incorporating repeated categorical variables of litter size. ResultsFour SNPs on chromosomes 2, 20 and 21 were identified to be significantly associated (FDR p < 0.05) with LSB after multiple testing correction under a Bayesian-information and Linkage-disequilibrium Iteratively Nested Keyway (BLINK) model. Least-square analysis was performed to investigate the effects of detected genotypes on LSB. Ultimately, the GWAS results introduced six candidate genes, including GABRA5, AKAP13, SV2B, PPP1R1C, SSFA2 and TRNAS-GCU in a 100 kb adjacent region of the identified SNPs. Previous studies proposed functional roles of GABRA5 and AKAP13 genes in reproductive processes; however, the role of other candidate genes in reproduction is not clear. ConclusionThese findings warrant further investigation for use in marker-assisted selection programs in Markhoz goats.


genome-wide association study; litter size; Markhoz goat; reproduction; prolificacy

Published in

Frontiers in Veterinary Science
2022, volume: 9, article number: 1045589

Authors' information

Mahmoudi, Peyman
University of Kurdistan
Rashidi, Amir
University of Kurdistan
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics
Rostamzadeh, Jalal
University of Kurdistan
Razmkabir, Mohammad
University of Kurdistan
Huson, Heather Jay
Cornell University

UKÄ Subject classification

Clinical Science

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