A polymorphism within the equine CRISP3 gene is associated with stallion fertility in Hanoverian warmblood horses


T. Leeb, Institute of Genetics, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Berne, Bremgartenstrasse 109a, 3001 Berne, Switzerland.
E-mail: tosso.leeb@itz.unibe.ch


Fertility of stallions is of high economic importance, especially for large breeding organisations and studs. Breeding schemes with respect to fertility traits and selection of stallions at an early stage may be improved by including molecular genetic markers associated with traits. The genes coding for equine cysteine-rich secretory proteins (CRISPs) are promising candidate genes because previous studies have shown that CRISPs play a role in the fertilising ability of male animals. We have previously characterised the three equine CRISP genes and identified a non-synonymous polymorphism in the CRISP1 gene. In this study, we report one non-synonymous polymorphism in the CRISP2 gene and four non-synonymous polymorphisms in the CRISP3 gene. All six CRISP polymorphisms were genotyped in 107 Hanoverian breeding stallions. Insemination records of stallions were used to analyse the association between CRISP polymorphisms and fertility traits. Three statistical models were used to evaluate the influence of single mutations, genotypes and haplotypes of the polymorphisms. The CRISP3 AJ459965:c.+622G>A SNP leading to the amino acid substitution E208K was significantly associated with the fertility of stallions. Stallions heterozygous for the CRISP3 c.+622G>A SNP had lower fertility than homozygous stallions (P = 0.0234). The pregnancy rate per cycle in these stallions was estimated to be ∼7% lower than in stallions homozygous at this position.