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Keywords:

  • equine;
  • Equine SNP50;
  • Genome-wide association;
  • osteochondrosis;
  • quantitative trait loci

Summary

Osteochondrosis (OC), a disturbance in the process of endochondral ossification, is by far the most important equine developmental orthopaedic disease and is also common in other domestic animals and humans. The purpose of this study was to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD) at the intermediate ridge of the distal tibia in Norwegian Standardbred (SB) using the Illumina Equine SNP50 BeadChip whole-genome single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) assay. Radiographic data and blood samples were obtained from 464 SB yearlings. Based on the radiographic examination, 162 horses were selected for genotyping; 80 of these were cases with an OCD at the intermediate ridge of the distal tibia, and 82 were controls without any developmental lesions in the joints examined. Genotyped horses descended from 22 sires, and the number of horses in each half-sib group ranged from 3 to 14. The population structure necessitated statistical correction for stratification. When conducting a case–control genome-wide association study (GWAS), mixed-model analyses displayed regions on chromosomes (Equus callabus chromosome – ECA) 5, 10, 27 and 28 that showed moderate evidence of association ( 5 × 10−5; this P-value is uncorrected i.e. not adjusted for multiple comparisons) with OCD in the tibiotarsal joint. Two SNPs on ECA10 represent the most significant hits (uncorrected = 1.19 × 10−5 in the mixed-model). In the basic association (chi-square) test, these SNPs achieved statistical significance with the Bonferroni correction (= 0.038) and were close in the permuted logistic regression test (= 0.054). Putative QTL on ECA 5, 10, 27 and 28 represent interesting areas for future research, validation studies and fine mapping of candidate regions. Results presented here represent the first GWAS of OC in horses using the recently released Illumina Equine SNP50 BeadChip.