Single nucleotide polymorphisms in candidate genes associated with gastrointestinal nematode infection in goats
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Cytokines are small cell-signaling proteins that play an important role in the immune system, participating in intracellular communication. Four candidate genes of the cytokine family (IL2, IL4, IL13, and IFNG) were selected to identify Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) that might be associated with resistance to gastrointestinal endoparasites in goats. A population of 229 goats, F2 offspring from an F1 intercross was produced by crossing pure Saanen goats, considered as susceptible to gastrointestinal endoparasites, with pure Anglo-Nubian goats, considered resistant. Blood was collected for DNA extraction and fecal samples were also collected for parasite egg count. Polymorphisms were prospected by sequencing animals with extreme phenotype for fecal egg count (FEC) distribution. The association between SNPs and phenotype was determined by using the Fisher exact test with correction for multiple tests. Three of the 10 SNPs were identified as significant (P <= 0.03). They were found in intron 1 of IL2 (ENSBTA00000020883), intron 3 of IL13 (ENSBTA00000015953) and exon 3 of IFNG (ENSBTA00000012529), suggesting an association between them and gastrointestinal endoparasite resistance. Further studies will help describe the effects of these markers accurately before implementing them in marker assisted selection. This study is the pioneer in describing such associations in goats.