James W Kijas

Pfizer Animal Health Australia, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Publications (78)273.31 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Basic understanding of linkage disequilibrium (LD) and population structure, as well as the consistency of gametic phase across breeds is crucial for genome-wide association studies and successful implementation of genomic selection. However, it is still limited in goats. Therefore, the objectives of this research were: (i) to estimate genome-wide levels of LD in goat breeds using data generated with the Illumina Goat SNP50 BeadChip; (ii) to study the consistency of gametic phase across breeds in order to evaluate the possible use of a multi-breed training population for genomic selection and (iii) develop insights concerning the population history of goat breeds. Average r(2) between adjacent SNP pairs ranged from 0.28 to 0.11 for Boer and Rangeland populations. At the average distance between adjacent SNPs in the current 50 k SNP panel (~0.06 Mb), the breeds LaMancha, Nubian, Toggenburg and Boer exceeded or approached the level of linkage disequilibrium that is useful (r(2) > 0.2) for genomic predictions. In all breeds LD decayed rapidly with increasing inter-marker distance. The estimated correlations for all the breed pairs, except Canadian and Australian Boer populations, were lower than 0.70 for all marker distances greater than 0.02 Mb. These results are not high enough to encourage the pooling of breeds in a single training population for genomic selection. The admixture analysis shows that some breeds have distinct genotypes based on SNP50 genotypes, such as the Boer, Cashmere and Nubian populations. The other groups share higher genome proportions with each other, indicating higher admixture and a more diverse genetic composition. This work presents results of a diverse collection of breeds, which are of great interest for the implementation of genomic selection in goats. The LD results indicate that, with a large enough training population, genomic selection could potentially be implemented within breed with the current 50 k panel, but some breeds might benefit from a denser panel. For multi-breed genomic evaluation, a denser SNP panel also seems to be required.
    BMC Genetics 06/2015; 16(1):67. DOI:10.1186/s12863-015-0220-1 · 2.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Domestic sheep (Ovis aries) can be divided into two groups with significantly different responses to hypoxic environments, determined by two allelic beta-globin haplotypes. Haplotype A is very similar to the goat beta-globin locus, whereas haplotype B has a deletion spanning four globin genes, including beta-C globin, which encodes a globin with high oxygen affinity. We surveyed the beta-globin locus using resequencing data from 70 domestic sheep from 42 worldwide breeds and three Ovis canadensis and two Ovis dalli individuals. Haplotype B has an allele frequency of 71.4% in O. aries and was homozygous (BB) in all five wild sheep. This shared ancestry indicates haplotype B is at least 2-3 million years old. Approximately 40 kb of the sequence flanking the ~37-kb haplotype B deletion had unexpectedly low identity between haplotypes A and B. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the divergent region of sheep haplotype B is remarkably distinct from the beta-globin loci in goat and cattle but still groups with the Ruminantia. We hypothesize that this divergent ~40-kb region in haplotype B may be from an unknown ancestral ruminant and was maintained in the lineage to O. aries, but not other Bovidae, evolving independently of haplotype A. Alternatively, the ~40-kb sequence in haplotype B was more recently acquired by an ancestor of sheep from an unknown non-Bovidae ruminant, replacing part of haplotype A. Haplotype B has a lower nucleotide diversity than does haplotype A, suggesting a recent bottleneck, whereas the higher frequency of haplotype B suggests a subsequent spread through the global population of O. aries. © 2015 Stichting International Foundation for Animal Genetics.
    Animal Genetics 06/2015; DOI:10.1111/age.12318 · 2.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: One of the most economically important areas within the Welsh agricultural sector is sheep farming, contributing around £230 million to the UK economy annually. Phenotypic selection over several centuries has generated a number of native sheep breeds, which are presumably adapted to the diverse and challenging landscape of Wales. Little is known about the history, genetic diversity and relationships of these breeds with other European breeds. We genotyped 353 individuals from 18 native Welsh sheep breeds using the Illumina OvineSNP50 array and characterised the genetic structure of these breeds. Our genotyping data were then combined with, and compared to, those from a set of 74 worldwide breeds, previously collected during the International Sheep Genome Consortium HapMap project. Model based clustering of the Welsh and European breeds indicated shared ancestry. This finding was supported by multidimensional scaling analysis (MDS), which revealed separation of the European, African and Asian breeds. As expected, the commercial Texel and Merino breeds appeared to have extensive co-ancestry with most European breeds. Consistently high levels of haplotype sharing were observed between native Welsh and other European breeds. The Welsh breeds did not, however, form a genetically homogeneous group, with pairwise F ST between breeds averaging 0.107 and ranging between 0.020 and 0.201. Four subpopulations were identified within the 18 native breeds, with high homogeneity observed amongst the majority of mountain breeds. Recent effective population sizes estimated from linkage disequilibrium ranged from 88 to 825. Welsh breeds are highly diverse with low to moderate effective population sizes and form at least four distinct genetic groups. Our data suggest common ancestry between the native Welsh and European breeds. These findings provide the basis for future genome-wide association studies and a first step towards developing genomics assisted breeding strategies in the UK.
    BMC Genetics 06/2015; 16(65). DOI:10.1186/s12863-015-0216-x · 2.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Domestic goats (Capra hircus) have been selected to play an essential role in agricultural production systems, since being domesticated from their wild progenitor, bezoar (Capra aegagrus). A detailed understanding of the genetic consequences imparted by the domestication process remains a key goal of evolutionary genomics. Results We constructed the reference genome of bezoar and sequenced representative breeds of domestic goats to search for genomic changes that likely have accompanied goat domestication and breed formation. Thirteen copy number variation genes associated with coat color were identified in domestic goats, among which ASIP gene duplication contributes to the generation of light coat-color phenotype in domestic goats. Analysis of rapidly evolving genes identified genic changes underlying behavior-related traits, immune response and production-related traits. Conclusion Based on the comparison studies of copy number variation genes and rapidly evolving genes between wild and domestic goat, our findings and methodology shed light on the genetic mechanism of animal domestication and will facilitate future goat breeding. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1606-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
    BMC Genomics 06/2015; 16(1). DOI:10.1186/s12864-015-1606-1 · 4.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We describe the organization of a nascent international effort, the Functional Annotation of Animal Genomes (FAANG) project, whose aim is to produce comprehensive maps of functional elements in the genomes of domesticated animal species.
    Genome biology 03/2015; 16(1):57. DOI:10.1186/s13059-015-0622-4 · 10.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Following domestication, sheep (Ovis aries) have become an essential farmed animals across the world through adaptation to a diverse range of environments and varied production systems. Climate-mediated selective pressure has shaped phenotypic variation and has left genetic "footprints" in the genome of breeds raised in different agro-ecological zones. Unlike numerous studies that have searched for evidence of selection using only population genetics data, here, we conducted an integrated co-analysis of environmental data with SNP variation. By examining 49,034 SNPs from 32 old, autochthonous sheep breeds that are adapted to a spectrum of different regional climates, we identified 230 SNPs with evidence for selection that is likely due to climate-mediated pressure. Among them, 189 (82%) showed significant correlation (P ≤ 0.05) between allele frequency and climatic variables in a larger set of native populations from a worldwide range of geographic areas and climates. Gene ontology analysis of genes co-located with significant SNPs identified 17 candidates related to GTPase regulator and peptide receptor activities in the biological processes of energy metabolism and endocrine and autoimmune regulation. We also observed high linkage disequilibrium and significant extended haplotype homozygosity (EHH) for the core haplotype TBC1D12-CH1 of TBC1D12. The global frequency distribution of the core haplotype and allele OAR22_18929579-A showed an apparent geographic pattern and significant (P ≤ 0.05) correlations with climatic variation. Our results imply that adaptations to local climates have shaped the spatial distribution of some variants and they are candidates to underpin adaptive variation in sheep.
    Molecular Biology and Evolution 12/2014; DOI:10.1093/molbev/msu264 · 14.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have become the marker of choice for genetic studies in organisms of conservation, commercial, or biological interest. Most SNP discovery projects in non-model organisms apply a strategy for identifying putative SNPs based on filtering rules that account for random sequencing errors. Here, we analyze data used to develop 4723 novel SNPs for the commercially important deep-sea fish, orange roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus), in order to measure the impact of not accounting for systematic sequencing errors when filtering identified polymorphisms to be added to the SNP chip. We used SAMtools to identify polymorphisms in a Velvet assembly of genomic DNA sequence data from seven individuals. The resulting set of polymorphisms were filtered to minimise ‘bycatch’ – polymorphisms caused by sequencing or assembly error. An Illumina Infinium SNP chip was used to genotype a final set of 7,714 polymorphisms across 1,734 individuals. Five predictors of SNP validity were examined for their effect on the probability of obtaining an assayable SNP: depth of coverage, number of reads that support a variant, polymorphism type (e.g., A/C), strand-bias, and SNP probe design score. Our results support a strategy of filtering out systematic sequencing errors in order to improve the efficiency of SNP discovery. We show that blastx can be used as an efficient tool to identify single-copy genomic regions in the absence of a reference genome. The results have implications for research aiming to identify SNPs and build SNP genotyping assays for non-model organisms.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Molecular Ecology Resources 11/2014; DOI:10.1111/1755-0998.12343 · 5.63 Impact Factor
  • James W Kijas
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    ABSTRACT: Domestic animals represent an extremely useful model for linking genotypic and phenotypic variation. One approach involves identifying allele frequency differences between populations, using FST, to detect selective sweeps. While simple to calculate, FST may generate false positives due to aspects of population history. This prompted the development of hapFLK, a metric that measures haplotype differentiation while accounting for the genetic relationship between populations. The focus of this paper was to apply hapFLK in sheep with available SNP50 genotypes. The hapFLK approach identified a known selective sweep on chromosome 10 with high precision. Further, five regions were identified centered on genes with strong evidence for positive selection (COL1A2, NCAPG, LCORL, and RXFP2). Estimation of global FST revealed many more genomic regions, providing empirical data in support of published simulation-based results concerning elevated type I error associated with FST when it is being used to characterize sweep regions. The findings, while conducted using sheep SNP data, are likely to be applicable across those domestic animal species that have undergone artificial selection for desirable phenotypic traits.
    Genome 10/2014; 57(8):1-5. DOI:10.1139/gen-2014-0049 · 1.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Text: High-throughput genomic data present an enormous challenge to researchers, due to the “large P small N” problem. Recently a machine learning method, Random Forests (RF), has gained the popularity in addressing these problems. In this study, we examined the utility of RF in two livestock genome-wide association study (GWAS) datasets - a Spanish sheep pigmentation data and a tropical cattle pregnancy status data. The comparison of top 10 ranking SNPs identified by RF to single-marker GWAS methods found that: 1) RF confirmed the most strongly associated SNP (s26449) being the closest to the sheep pigmentation gene MCR1; 2) Five out of the top 10 SNPs identified by RF were close to the genes previously reported to link with reproductive performance in human or other species. The results indicate that RF can potentially be used in GWAS as an initial screening tool for candidate genes. Keywords: Random Forests GWAS
    10th World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production; 08/2014
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Text: This study proposed to use genotypes from pooled DNA samples of progeny to evaluate sires’ performance in a commercial flock. Blood samples were collected from 786 one year old Merino sheep in a commercial flock in southern Victoria, Australia. Animals were grouped into cohorts by dag score phenotype and sex. Eighty blood samples were collected within each cohort and randomly allocated to two equally sized pools. Pooled samples were assayed with the Ovine SNP 50 chip and allele frequencies estimated for each SNP in each pool. Blood was also collected from 33 sires of the commercial flock and genotyped. Sire allele contributions were estimated and these contributions were not randomly distributed across pool dag scores (P = 0.015). Genotyping pooled DNA of progeny and genotyping sires can be utilized as an estimate of sire performance for a difficult to measure, but commercially important trait. Keywords: genotype, phenotype, pooled DNA
    10th World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production; 08/2014
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Text: Understanding genetic relatedness between individuals, sire groups and breeds underpins genomic selection and GWAS. Here, we describe a new estimate of genetic relatedness using normalized compression distance (NCD). Clustering of Sheep breeds inferred by NCD broadly reflects SNP correlation using standard multi-dimensional scaling. The clustering appears consistent with country of origin and population history. For example, the 4 British sheep meat breeds (Poll Dorset, Southdown, Suffolk and White Suffolk) clearly cluster with each other, but separate to unrelated breeds (Border Leicester, Merino and Texel). We show that the compression-based relationship matrix (CRM) and the genomic relationship matrix (GRM) are closely related. The quadratic relationship between pairwise NCD (CRM) and pairwise SNP correlation (GRM) implies CRM will perform better with closely related individuals, while the converse is true for GRM. For example, CRM resolves Merino from Poll Merino where GRM cannot. Keywords: Genetic relationship matrix, Information compression, Sheep
    10th World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production; 08/2014
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    ABSTRACT: We inferred a step-wise pattern of changing ancestral demography using whole-genome sequence data from four domestic sheep (Ovis aries) and four wild sheep (O. canadensis and O. dalli). The inferred demography indicates clear differences between the wild sheep and domestic sheep. Furthermore we identified marked changes in effective population size which correspond to known historical events, including glaciation events and sheep domestication. Keywords: demography effective population size runs of homozygosity sequence error correction Introduction
    Proceedings, 10 th World Congress of Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Vancouver, Canada; 08/2014
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    ABSTRACT: Sheep (Ovis aries) have been well adapted to thrive in a diverse range of climates during the domestication and breed development process. These climate-mediated selective pressures have shown to influence phenotypic variation within and among breeds and, meanwhile, left genetic “footprints” in their genome. Unlike numerous studies that searched for evidence of selection using only population genetic data, here we have scanned the sheep genome for selection signals by integrating genetic and climatic data. From the International Sheep HapMap Project, genome-wide data of ca. 50K SNPs in a diverse collection of 32 old and autochthonous breeds, which have been under different regional climates for a long term, were selected for the analyses. We first performed a variety of selection tests to detect variants under natural selective pressures. We demonstrated strong evidence for selective signals at a total of 230 SNPs associated with local adaptation to different climates. A great majority (82%, 189/230) of the candidate SNPs showed significant (P ˂ 0.05) correlations between allele frequencies and climatic variables in a large subset of native populations from a world-wide range of geographic origins and climates. Our results imply that adaptations to local climates have shaped the spatial distribution of particular variants and, thus, such loci are likely involved in sheep adaptation to environmental challenges. Further molecular and functional studies of candidate genes close to significant markers will help to elucidate the genetic architecture of climate-mediated adaptive traits in sheep and other farm animals.
    34th International Society of Animal Genetics (ISAG), Xi’an, China; 07/2014
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    ABSTRACT: The extent of linkage disequilibrium (LD) between genetic loci has implications for both association studies and the accuracy of genomic prediction. To characterise the persistence of LD in diverse sheep breeds, two SNP genotyping platforms were used. First, existing SNP genotypes from 63 breeds obtained using the ovine SNP50 BeadChip (49 034 loci) were used to estimate LD decay in populations with contrasting levels of genetic diversity. Given the paucity of marker pairs separated by short physical distances on the SNP50 BeadChip, genotyping was subsequently performed for four breeds using the recently developed ovine HD BeadChip that assays approximately 600 000 SNPs with an average genomic spacing of 5 kb. This facilitated a highly accurate estimate of LD over short genomic distances (<30 kb) and revealed LD varies considerably between sheep breeds. Further, sheep appear to contain generally lower levels of LD than do other domestic species, likely a reflection of aspects of their past population history.
    Animal Genetics 07/2014; 45(5). DOI:10.1111/age.12197 · 2.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sheep (Ovis aries) are a major source of meat, milk, and fiber in the form of wool and represent a distinct class of animals that have a specialized digestive organ, the rumen, that carries out the initial digestion of plant material. We have developed and analyzed a high-quality reference sheep genome and transcriptomes from 40 different tissues. We identified highly expressed genes encoding keratin cross-linking proteins associated with rumen evolution. We also identified genes involved in lipid metabolism that had been amplified and/or had altered tissue expression patterns. This may be in response to changes in the barrier lipids of the skin, an interaction between lipid metabolism and wool synthesis, and an increased role of volatile fatty acids in ruminants compared with nonruminant animals.
    Science 06/2014; 344(6188):1168-1173. DOI:10.1126/science.1252806 · 31.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Summary To date, investigations of genetic diversity and the origins of domestication in sheep have utilised autosomal microsatellites and variation in the mitochondrial genome. We present the first analysis of both domestic and wild sheep using genetic markers residing on the ovine Y chromosome. Analysis of a single nucleotide polymorphism (oY1) in the SRY promoter region revealed that allele A-oY1 was present in all wild bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis), two subspecies of thinhorn sheep (Ovis dalli), European Mouflon (Ovis musimon) and the Barbary (Ammontragis lervia). A-oY1 also had the highest frequency (71.4%) within 458 domestic sheep drawn from 65 breeds sampled from Africa, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. Sequence analysis of a second locus, microsatellite SRYM18, revealed a compound repeat array displaying fixed differences, which identified bighorn and thinhorn sheep as distinct from the European Mouflon and domestic animals. Combined genotypic data identified 11 male-specific haplotypes that represented at least two separate lineages. Investigation of the geographical distribution of each haplotype revealed that one (H6) was both very common and widespread in the global sample of domestic breeds. The remaining haplotypes each displayed more restricted and informative distributions. For example, H5 was likely founded following the domestication of European breeds and was used to trace the recent transportation of animals to both the Caribbean and Australia. A high rate of Y chromosomal dispersal appears to have taken place during the development of domestic sheep as only 12.9% of the total observed variation was partitioned between major geographical regions.
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    ABSTRACT: In Europe, especially in Mediterranean areas, the sheep has been traditionally exploited as a dual purpose species, with income from both meat and milk. Modernization of husbandry methods and the establishment of breeding schemes focused on milk production have led to the development of "dairy breeds." This study investigated selective sweeps specifically related to dairy production in sheep by searching for regions commonly identified in different European dairy breeds. With this aim, genotypes from 44,545 SNP markers covering the sheep autosomes were analysed in both European dairy and non-dairy sheep breeds using two approaches: (i) identification of genomic regions showing extreme genetic differentiation between each dairy breed and a closely related non-dairy breed, and (ii) identification of regions with reduced variation (heterozygosity) in the dairy breeds using two methods. Regions detected in at least two breeds (breed pairs) by the two approaches (genetic differentiation and at least one of the heterozygosity-based analyses) were labeled as core candidate convergence regions and further investigated for candidate genes. Following this approach six regions were detected. For some of them, strong candidate genes have been proposed (e.g. ABCG2, SPP1), whereas some other genes designated as candidates based on their association with sheep and cattle dairy traits (e.g. LALBA, DGAT1A) were not associated with a detectable sweep signal. Few of the identified regions were coincident with QTL previously reported in sheep, although many of them corresponded to orthologous regions in cattle where QTL for dairy traits have been identified. Due to the limited number of QTL studies reported in sheep compared with cattle, the results illustrate the potential value of selection mapping to identify genomic regions associated with dairy traits in sheep.
    PLoS ONE 05/2014; 9(5):e94623. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0094623 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: DNA-based parentage determination accelerates genetic improvement in sheep by increasing pedigree accuracy. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers can be used for determining parentage and to provide unique molecular identifiers for tracing sheep products to their source. However, the utility of a particular "parentage SNP" varies by breed depending on its minor allele frequency (MAF) and its sequence context. Our aims were to identify parentage SNPs with exceptional qualities for use in globally diverse breeds and to develop a subset for use in North American sheep. Starting with genotypes from 2,915 sheep and 74 breed groups provided by the International Sheep Genomics Consortium (ISGC), we analyzed 47,693 autosomal SNPs by multiple criteria and selected 163 with desirable properties for parentage testing. On average, each of the 163 SNPs was highly informative (MAF≥0.3) in 48±5 breed groups. Nearby polymorphisms that could otherwise confound genetic testing were identified by whole genome and Sanger sequencing of 166 sheep from 54 breed groups. A genetic test with 109 of the 163 parentage SNPs was developed for matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time-of-flight mass spectrometry. The scoring rates and accuracies for these 109 SNPs were greater than 99% in a panel of North American sheep. In a blinded set of 96 families (sire, dam, and non-identical twin lambs), each parent of every lamb was identified without using the other parent's genotype. In 74 ISGC breed groups, the median estimates for probability of a coincidental match between two animals (PI), and the fraction of potential adults excluded from parentage (PE) were 1.1×10(-39) and 0.999987, respectively, for the 109 SNPs combined. The availability of a well-characterized set of 163 parentage SNPs facilitates the development of high-throughput genetic technologies for implementing accurate and economical parentage testing and traceability in many of the world's sheep breeds.
    PLoS ONE 04/2014; 9(4):e94851. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0094851 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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Publication Stats

1k Citations
273.31 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2013–2014
    • Pfizer Animal Health Australia
      Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • 2010–2013
    • The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
      • Division of Livestock Industries
      Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
    • University of Adelaide
      • School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences
      Tarndarnya, South Australia, Australia
  • 2006–2012
    • Meat & Livestock Australia
      Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • 2007
    • Adnan Menderes University
      • Department of Animal Science
      Güsel Hissar, Aydın, Turkey
  • 2002–2004
    • Cornell University
      • • College of Veterinary Medicine
      • • Baker Institute for Animal Health
      Ithaca, NY, United States
    • Jules Stein Eye Institute
      Maryland, United States