Genome-wide association study for inhibin, luteinizing hormone, insulin-like growth factor 1, testicular size and semen traits in bovine species

Authors

  • M. R. S. Fortes,

    1. University of Queensland, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), Centre for Animal Science, Gatton, Qld
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  • A. Reverter,

    1. CSIRO Animal, Food and Health Sciences, Queensland Bioscience Precinct, Lucia, Qld, Australia
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  • M. Kelly,

    1. University of Queensland, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), Centre for Animal Science, Gatton, Qld
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  • R. McCulloch,

    1. CSIRO Animal, Food and Health Sciences, Queensland Bioscience Precinct, Lucia, Qld, Australia
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  • S. A. Lehnert

    Corresponding author
    1. CSIRO Animal, Food and Health Sciences, Queensland Bioscience Precinct, Lucia, Qld, Australia
    • University of Queensland, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), Centre for Animal Science, Gatton, Qld
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Correspondence:

Sigrid A. Lehnert, CSIRO Animal, Food and Health Sciences, Queensland Bioscience Precinct, Lucia, Qld, Australia.E-mail: Sigrid.Lehnert@csiro.au

Summary

The fertility of young bulls impacts on reproduction rates, farm profit and the rate of genetic progress in beef herds. Cattle researchers and industry therefore routinely collect data on the reproductive performance of bulls. Genome-wide association studies were carried out to identify genomic regions and genes associated with reproductive traits measured during the pubertal development of Tropical Composite bulls, from 4 to 24 months of age. Data from 1 085 bulls were collected for seven traits: blood hormone levels of inhibin at 4 months (IN), luteinizing hormone following a gonadotropin releasing hormone challenge at 4 months (LH), insulin-like growth factor 1 at 6 months (IGF1), scrotal circumference at 12 months (SC), sperm motility at 18 months (MOT), percentage of normal spermatozoa at 24 months (PNS) and age at a scrotal circumference of 26 cm (AGE26, or pubertal age). Data from 729 068 single-nucleotide polymorphisms were used in the association analysis. Significant polymorphism associations were discovered for IN, IGF1, SC, AGE26 and PNS. Based on these associations, INHBE, INHBC and HELB are proposed as candidate genes for IN regulation. Polymorphisms associated with IGF1 mapped to the PLAG1 gene region, validating a reported quantitative trait locus on chromosome 14 for IGF1. The X chromosome contained most of the significant associations found for SC, AGE26 and PNS. These findings will contribute to the identification of diagnostic genetic markers and informed genomic selection strategies to assist breeding of cattle with improved fertility. Furthermore, this work provides evidence contributing to gene function annotation in the context of male fertility.

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