Integration of genome wide association studies and whole genome sequencing provides novel insights into fat deposition in chicken

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2018-12-01

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Excessive fat deposition is a negative factor for poultry production because it reduces feed efficiency, increases the cost of meat production and is a health concern for consumers. We genotyped 497 birds from a Brazilian F2 Chicken Resource Population, using a high-density SNP array (600 K), to estimate the genomic heritability of fat deposition related traits and to identify genomic regions and positional candidate genes (PCGs) associated with these traits. Selection signature regions, haplotype blocks and SNP data from a previous whole genome sequencing study in the founders of this chicken F2 population were used to refine the list of PCGs and to identify potential causative SNPs. We obtained high genomic heritabilities (0.43–0.56) and identified 22 unique QTLs for abdominal fat and carcass fat content traits. These QTLs harbored 26 PCGs involved in biological processes such as fat cell differentiation, insulin and triglyceride levels, and lipid biosynthetic process. Three of these 26 PCGs were located within haplotype blocks there were associated with fat traits, five overlapped with selection signature regions, and 12 contained predicted deleterious variants. The identified QTLs, PCGs and potentially causative SNPs provide new insights into the genetic control of fat deposition and can lead to improved accuracy of selection to reduce excessive fat deposition in chickens.

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Scientific Reports, v. 8, n. 1, 2018.

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