[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe two brothers who presented at birth with bone growth abnormalities, followed by development of increasingly severe intellectual and physical disability, growth restriction, epilepsy, and cerebellar and brain stem atrophy, but normal ocular phenotypes. Case 1 died at 19 years of age due to chronic respiratory illnesses without a unifying diagnosis. The brother remains alive but severely disabled at 19 years of age. Whole exome sequencing identified compound heterozygous stop mutations in the
peroxisome biogenesis factor 7
gene in both individuals. Mutations in this gene cause rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata, type 1 (RCDP1). One mutation,
, has only been documented once before in a Japanese family, which is of interest given these two boys are of European descent. The other mutation,
, is found in approximately 50% of RCDP1 patients. These are the first cases of RCDP1 that describe the coinheritance of the
mutations and demonstrate the utility of WES in cases with unclear diagnoses.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder wherein the aetiological defect is a mutation in the Huntington's gene (HTT), which alters the structure of the huntingtin protein through the lengthening of a polyglutamine tract and initiates a cascade that ultimately leads to dementia and premature death. However, neurodegeneration typically manifests in HD only in middle age, and processes linking the causative mutation to brain disease are poorly understood. Here, our objective was to elucidate further the processes that cause neurodegeneration in HD, by measuring levels of metabolites in brain regions known to undergo varying degrees of damage. We applied gas-chromatography/mass spectrometry-based metabolomics in a case-control study of eleven brain regions in short post-mortem-delay human tissue from nine well-characterized HD patients and nine controls. Unexpectedly, a single major abnormality was evident in all eleven brain regions studied across the forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain, namely marked elevation of urea, a metabolite formed in the urea cycle by arginase-mediated cleavage of arginine. Urea cycle activity localizes primarily in the liver, where it functions to incorporate protein-derived amine-nitrogen into urea for recycling or urinary excretion. It also occurs in other cell-types, but systemic over-production of urea is not known in HD. These findings are consistent with impaired local urea regulation in brain, by up-regulation of synthesis and/or defective clearance. We hypothesize that defective brain urea metabolism could play a substantive role in the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration, perhaps via defects in osmoregulation or nitrogen metabolism. Brain urea metabolism is therefore a target for generating novel monitoring/imaging strategies and/or therapeutic interventions aimed at ameliorating the impact of HD in patients.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two male siblings from a consanguineous union presented in early infancy with marked truncal hypotonia, a general paucity of movement, extrapyramidal signs and cognitive delay. By mid-childhood they had made little developmental progress and remained severely hypotonic and bradykinetic. They developed epilepsy and had problems with autonomic dysfunction and oculogyric crises. They had a number of orthopaedic problems secondary to their hypotonia. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) neurotransmitters were initially normal, apart from mildly elevated 5-hydroxyindolacetic acid, and the children did not respond favourably to a trial of levodopa-carbidopa. The youngest died from respiratory complications at 10 years of age. Repeat CSF neurotransmitters in the older sibling at eight years of age showed slightly low homovanillic acid and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid levels. Whole-exome sequencing revealed a novel mutation homozygous in both children in the monoamine transporter gene SLC18A2 (p.Pro237His), resulting in brain dopamine-serotonin vesicular transport disease. This is the second family to be described with a mutation in this gene. Treatment with the dopamine agonist pramipexole in the surviving child resulted in mild improvements in alertness, communication, and eye movements. This case supports the identification of the causal mutation in the original case, expands the clinical phenotype of brain dopamine-serotonin vesicular transport disease and confirms that pramipexole treatment may lead to symptomatic improvement in affected individuals.
No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Selective breeding has strongly reduced the genetic diversity in livestock species, and contemporary breeding practices exclude potentially beneficial rare genetic variation from the future gene pool. Here we test whether important traits arising by new mutations can be identified and rescued in highly selected populations. We screened milks from 2.5 million cows to identify an exceptional individual which produced milk with reduced saturated fat content, and improved unsaturated and omega-3 fatty acid concentrations. The milk traits were transmitted dominantly to her offspring, and genetic mapping and genome sequencing revealed a new mutation in a previously unknown splice enhancer of the DGAT1 gene. Homozygous carriers show features of human diarrheal disorders, and may be useful for the development of therapeutic strategies. Our study demonstrates that high-throughput phenotypic screening can uncover rich genetic diversity even in inbred populations, and introduces a novel strategy to develop novel milks with improved nutritional properties.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Scientific Reports
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Traditional RNA extraction methods rely on the use of hazardous chemicals such as phenol, chloroform, guanidinium thiocyanate to disrupt cells and inactivate RNAse simultaneously. RNA isolation from Caenorhabditis elegans presents another challenge due to its tough cuticle, therefore several repeated freeze–thaw cycles may be needed to disrupt the cuticle before the cell contents are released. In addition, a large number of animals are required for successful RNA isolation. To overcome these issues, we have developed a simple and efficient method using proteinase K and a brief heat treatment to release RNA of quality suitable for quantitative PCR analysis.The benefits of the method are:
Faster and safer compared to conventional RNA extraction methods
Released RNA can be used directly for cDNA synthesis without purification
As little as a single worm is sufficient
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lactation, hair development and homeothermy are characteristic evolutionary features that define mammals from other vertebrate species. Here we describe the discovery of two autosomal dominant mutations with antagonistic, pleiotropic effects on all three of these biological processes, mediated through the prolactin signalling pathway. Most conspicuously, mutations in prolactin (PRL) and its receptor (PRLR) have an impact on thermoregulation and hair morphology phenotypes, giving prominence to this pathway outside of its classical roles in lactation.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Nature Communications
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to estimate heritability and crossbreeding parameters (breed and heterosis effects) of various fatty acid (FA) concentrations in milk fat of New Zealand dairy cattle. For this purpose, calibration equations to predict concentration of each of the most common FAs were derived with partial least squares (PLS) using mid-infrared (MIR) spectral data from milk samples (n=850) collected in the 2003-04 season from 348 second-parity crossbred cows during peak, mid and late lactation. The milk samples produced both, MIR spectral data and concentration of the most common FAs determined using gas chromatography (GC). The concordance correlation coefficients (CCC) between the concentration of a FA determined by GC and the PLS equation ranged from 0·63 to 0·94, suggesting that some prediction equations can be considered to have substantial predictive ability. The PLS calibration equations were then used to predict the concentration of each of the fatty acids in 26 769 milk samples from 7385 cows that were herd-tested during the 2007-08 season. Data were analysed using a single-trait repeatability animal model. Shorter chain FA (16 : 0 and below) were significantly higher (P<0·05) in Jersey cows, while longer chain, including unsaturated longer chain FA were higher in Holstein-Friesian cows. The estimates of heritabilities ranged from 0·17 to 0·41 suggesting that selective breeding could be used to ensure milk fat composition stays aligned to consumer, market and manufacturing needs.
No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Journal of Dairy Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Short-term changes to milking frequency can alter the metabolic status of dairy cows depending on the duration, magnitude, and stage of lactation at which the milking frequency changes occur. Additionally, effects of altered milking frequency that are subsequent to cows returning to a normal twice-daily (2×) milking regimen are not well established. This study tested the hypothesis that plasma concentrations of key hormones and metabolites and transcription of genes involved in the somatotropic axis and lipid metabolism would be altered in liver and subcutaneous adipose tissue from cows milked with different frequencies. Multiparous Holstein-Friesian dairy cows were allocated to 2× milking for the whole lactation, or once-(1×) or 3 times-(3×) daily milking for 3 or 6 wk, immediately postpartum, and then 2× milking for the remainder of the lactation. Liver and subcutaneous fat were biopsied at wk 1 (liver only), 3, 6, and 9 postpartum, and transcription of genes involved in the somatotropic axis and lipid metabolism were measured. At wk 3, cows milked 3× had lower hepatic expression of growth hormone receptor (GHR1A) compared with cows milked 2× or 1×, and lower IGF1 expression compared with cows milked 1×, indicating greater uncoupling of the somatotropic axis. At wk 6, reduced transcription of total GHR and GHR1B occurred in the adipose tissue of cows milked 3×. Cows milked 1× had greater transcription in adipose tissue of lipogenesis genes at wk 3 and 6, and lipolysis genes at wk 6, compared with cows milked 2×, indicating a period of increased fatty acid storage, followed by increased fatty acid reesterification. At wk 9, cows previously milked 3× for 6 wk maintained lower transcription of genes involved in lipogenesis, lipolysis, and ketolysis in adipose tissue compared with cows milked 2×, indicating that the effects of 3× milking persist for at least 3 wk after switching to 2× milking. Results indicate that alterations to milking frequency affect the transcription of genes involved in lipid mobilization and storage, enabling the animal to manage the energy demands associated with the change in milk production. Some of these gene transcription changes were maintained in cows previously milked 3×, indicating that the adipose tissue gene expression changes were still required even after 3 wk of the less-demanding 2× milking regimen.
No preview · Article · May 2014 · Journal of Dairy Science
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Insidious changes in behaviour herald the onset of progressive neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington's disease (HD), sometimes years before overt symptoms are seen. Sleep and circadian disturbances are particularly disruptive symptoms in patients with neurological disorders, but they are difficult to measure in humans. Here we studied circadian behaviour in transgenic HD sheep expressing the full-length human huntingtin protein with an expanded CAG repeat mutation in the juvenile range. Young HD sheep with no other symptoms exhibited circadian behavioural abnormalities that worsened with age. The most obvious change was a disturbed evening behaviour reminiscent of 'sundowning' that is seen in some patients with dementia. There were no structural abnormalities seen with MRI, even in 5-year-old HD sheep. Interestingly, detection of the circadian abnormalities depended upon their social grouping. Abnormalities emerged in sheep kept in an 'HD-only' flock, whereas the behaviour of HD sheep kept mixed with normal sheep was relatively normal. Sleep-wake abnormalities in HD patients are also likely to be hidden, and may precede overt symptoms by many years. Sleep disruption has deleterious effects, even in normal people. The knock-on effects of sleep-wake disturbance may exacerbate, or even cause symptoms such as irritability and depression that are common in early stage HD patients. HD sheep will be useful models for probing the mechanisms underlying circadian behavioural disorder in HD.
No preview · Article · Jan 2014 · Human Molecular Genetics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Milk is composed of a complex mixture of lipids, proteins, carbohydrates and various vitamins and minerals as a source of nutrition for young mammals. The composition of milk varies between individuals, with lipid composition in particular being highly heritable. Recent reports have highlighted a region of bovine chromosome 27 harbouring variants affecting milk fat percentage and fatty acid content. We aimed to further investigate this locus in two independent cattle populations, consisting of a Holstein-Friesian x Jersey crossbreed pedigree of 711 F2 cows, and a collection of 32,530 mixed ancestry Bos taurus cows. Bayesian genome-wide association mapping using markers imputed from the Illumina BovineHD chip revealed a large quantitative trait locus (QTL) for milk fat percentage on chromosome 27, present in both populations. We also investigated a range of other milk composition phenotypes, and report additional associations at this locus for fat yield, protein percentage and yield, lactose percentage and yield, milk volume, and the proportions of numerous milk fatty acids. We then used mammary RNA sequence data from 212 lactating cows to assess the transcript abundance of genes located in the milk fat percentage QTL interval. This analysis revealed a strong eQTL for AGPAT6, demonstrating that high milk fat percentage genotype is also additively associated with increased expression of the AGPAT6 gene. Finally, we used whole genome sequence data from six F1 sires to target a panel of novel AGPAT6 locus variants for genotyping in the F2 crossbreed population. Association analysis of 58 of these variants revealed highly significant association for polymorphisms mapping to the 5'UTR exons and intron 1 of AGPAT6. Taken together, these data suggest that variants affecting the expression of AGPAT6 are causally involved in differential milk fat synthesis, with pleiotropic consequences for a diverse range of other milk components.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Changes to milking frequency (MF) affect the metabolic and energetic status of dairy cows. However, the duration of altered MF necessary to modify hepatic transcription during early lactation is less clear. Additionally, long-term responses to short-term alterations in MF have not been established. Holstein-Friesian dairy cows (n = 120) were allocated to 3 or 6 wk of either once-daily (1×) or thrice-daily (3×) milking, immediately postpartum. Following treatment, cows were switched to twice-daily (2×) milking. These 4 treatment groups were compared with cows milked 2× (n = 30) for the whole lactation. Liver tissue was collected by biopsy at 1, 3, 6, and 9 wk postpartum from 12 cows per treatment, RNA was extracted, and transcript abundance of genes involved in hepatic metabolism was quantified. Milking frequency altered the expression of most of the genes measured; however, we observed no effects caused by the length of time on the alternative milking frequency and no interactions between MF and length. During the MF treatment, mRNA expression of some, but not all, genes involved in gluconeogenesis (G6PC, PCK1), fatty acid β-oxidation (CPT1A, CPT2), ketogenesis (HMGCS2), lipid transport (APOA1), and lipolysis (PNPLA2) were lower for cows milked 1× and plasma glucose and insulin concentrations were greater. Cows milked 3× had reduced mRNA expression for some of the genes involved in fatty acid synthesis (ACACA) and lipid transport (APOB) and had greater plasma NEFA concentrations at wk 1. At 9 wk postpartum, expression data indicated that cows previously milked 3× had a greater capacity for gluconeogenesis (PCK1), ketogenesis (HMGCS2), and urea cycling (ASL, CPS1) and lower glucose concentrations than cows previously milked 1×, because some of the genes involved in these processes were still altered. Milking cows 1× relative to 2×, however, did not result in significant carryover effects on the expression of the genes measured in this study, indicating that metabolic changes are not sustained beyond the period of reduced MF. Changes to MF altered the hepatic response during early lactation; however, this was not dependent on the duration of MF change. Although we observed only minimal carryover effects on hepatic metabolism from short periods of reduced MF postpartum, there may be long-term effects on urea cycling (ASL, CPS1) and ketogenesis (HMGCS2) when 3× milking occurs immediately postpartum.
No preview · Article · Dec 2013 · Journal of Dairy Science
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Non-protein-bound oligosaccharides are important bioactive components of cow milk, with potential human-health benefits such as stimulation of the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and defense against pathogens. In bovine milk, the majority of oligosaccharides are sialylated; 3'-sialyllactose (3'-N-acetylneuraminyl-d-lactose; 3'-SL) is the predominant sialylated oligosaccharide, followed by 6'-sialyllactose (6'-N-acetylneuraminyl-d-lactose; 6'-SL). Both 3'-SL and 6'-SL have antimicrobial activity. As bovine milk products such as infant formula can be an important component of the human diet, and the concentrations of 3'-SL and 6'-SL are lower in bovine milk compared with human milk, we aimed to identify cows that naturally produce higher concentrations of sialyllactose in their milk. Milk from such cows could be used to produce foods with an increased sialyllactose content, potentially providing increased health benefits. We speculated that cows overexpressing 3'-SL and 6'-SL would exist at low frequency in the population and, to allow their efficient identification, we developed a novel assay for 3'-SL and 6'-SL utilizing flow-injection analysis-mass spectrometry, which could be used for high-throughput analysis of milk samples. We then determined 3'-SL and 6'-SL concentrations in milk samples from 15,507 cows from Friesian, Jersey, and Friesian-Jersey crossbred animals. We found 329 cows with concentrations of 3'-SL or 6'-SL >2-fold higher than the mean, 26 cows with concentrations of 3'-SL or 6'-SL >3-fold higher than the mean, and 1 cow with concentrations of 3'-SL >4-fold higher than the mean. Although these outliers were observed across the 3 groups of cows, breed had a strong effect on mean 3'-SL and 6'-SL concentrations.
No preview · Article · Oct 2013 · Journal of Dairy Science
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of reduced milking frequency, at 2 feeding levels, on gene expression in adipose tissue of grazing dairy cows during early lactation. Multiparous Holstein-Friesian and Holstein-Friesian × Jersey cows (n = 120) were grazed on pasture and milked twice daily (2×) from calving to 34 ± 6 d in milk (mean ± standard deviation). Cows were then allocated to 1 of 4 treatments in a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement. Treatments consisted of 2 milking frequencies (2× or once daily; 1×) and 2 feeding levels for 3 wk: adequately fed (AF), consuming 14.3 kg of dry matter/cow per day, or underfed (UF), consuming 8.3 kg of dry matter/cow per day. After the treatment period, all cows were fed to target grazing residuals ≥1,600 kg of DM/cow per day and milked 2× for 20 wk. Adipose tissue was collected from 12 cows per treatment by subcutaneous biopsy at -1, 3, and 5 wk relative to treatment start, RNA was extracted, and transcript abundance of genes involved in lipid metabolism was quantified using a linear mixed model. At the end of the 3-wk treatment period, transcript abundance of genes involved in fatty acid (FA) uptake into adipose tissue (LPL), FA synthesis [FA synthase (FASN) and stearoyl-coenzyme A desaturase (SCD)], FA oxidation [acyl-coenzyme A synthetase long-chain family member 1 (ACSL1) and carnitine palmitoyltransferase 2 (CPT2)], glyceroneogenesis [glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase 1 (GPD1) and pyruvate carboxylase (PC)], and triacylglyceride synthesis [diacylglycerol O-acyltransferase 2 (DGAT2)] were greater in AF1× cows compared with all other treatments. However, when cows were underfed, no effects of milking frequency were observed on transcript abundance of genes involved in adipose lipid metabolism. Despite increases in plasma NEFA concentrations in UF cows, no effects of underfeeding were observed on the transcription of lipolytic genes. At 5 wk, after cows were returned to 2× milking and standard feed allowance, transcript abundances of genes involved in FA synthesis [acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase α (ACACA) and SCD)] were increased in cows previously UF. Expression of ACSL1 was decreased in UF1× cows relative to UF2× cows and CPT2 expression was greater in AF1× cows compared with AF2× cows. In conclusion, after 3 wk of reduced milking frequency during a feed restriction, transcription of genes involved in lipid metabolism in adipose tissue were not altered, possibly due to the reduced milk production in these animals. However, 3 wk of 1× milking in AF cows increased transcription of genes involved in FA synthesis, oxidation, and triacylglyceride synthesis.
No preview · Article · Oct 2013 · Journal of Dairy Science
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to investigate if a reduced milking frequency altered the effect of dietary energy restriction on the hepatic transcriptome of grazing dairy cows. Multiparous Holstein-Friesian and Holstein-Friesian x Jersey cows (n = 120) were milked twice-daily (2X) from calving until 34 ± 6 days in milk (mean ±SD). Cows were then allocated to one of four treatments in a 2 x 2 factorial arrangement. Treatments consisted of two milking frequencies (2X or once-daily; 1X) and two feeding levels for three weeks: adequately fed (AF), or underfed (UF; 60% of AF). Liver tissue was biopsied from 12 cows per treatment after 3 wk of treatment and the hepatic transcriptome profiled using an Agilent 4x44k bovine microarray. Over 2,900 genes were differentially expressed in response to the energy restriction; however, no effects resulted from changes to milking frequency. This may indicate that after 3wks of 1X milking, any changes to the liver transcriptome that may have occurred earlier have returned to normal. After 3 wk of energy restriction, gene expression patterns indicated that glucose-sparing pathways were activated, and gluconeogenesis was increased in UF cows. Genes involved in hepatic stress were up-regulated in response to the energy restriction indicative of the pressure energy restriction places on liver function. Other pathways up-regulated included 'Cytoskeletal remodeling' indicating that a three week energy restriction resulted in molecular changes to assist tissue remodeling. Overall, 1X milking does not modify the hepatic transcriptome changes that occur in response to an energy restriction.
Preview · Article · Oct 2013 · Physiological Genomics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Huntington's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder, typically with clinical manifestations in adult years, caused by an expanded polyglutamine-coding repeat in HTT. There are no treatments that delay or prevent the onset or progression of this devastating disease.
Objective and methods:
In order to study its pre-symptomatic molecular progression and provide a large mammalian model for determining natural history of the disease and for therapeutic testing, we generated and previously reported on lines of transgenic sheep carrying a full length human HTT cDNA transgene, with expression driven by a minimal HTT promoter. We report here further characterization of our preferred line, OVT73.
This line reliably expresses the expanded human huntingtin protein at modest, but readily detectable levels throughout the brain, including the striatum and cortex. Transmission of the 73 unit glutamine coding repeat was relatively stable over three generations. At the first time-point of a longitudinal study, animals sacrificed at 6 months (7 transgenic, 7 control) showed reduced striatum GABAA α1 receptor, and globus pallidus leu-enkephalin immunoreactivity. Two of three 18 month old animals sacrificed revealed cortical neuropil aggregates. Furthermore, neuronal intranuclear inclusions were identified in the piriform cortex of a single 36 month old animal in addition to cortical neuropil aggregates.
Taken together, these data indicate that the OVT73 transgenic sheep line will progressively reveal early HD pathology and allow therapeutic testing over a period of time relevant to human patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to determine a genetic basis for IgA concentration in milk of Bos taurus. We used a Holstein-Friesian x Jersey F2 crossbred pedigree to undertake a genome-wide search for QTL influencing IgA concentration and yield in colostrum and milk. We identified a single genome-wide significant QTL on chromosome 16, maximising at 4.8 Mbp. The polymeric immunoglobulin receptor gene (PIGR) was within the confidence interval of the QTL. In addition, mRNA expression analysis revealed a liver PIGR expression QTL mapping to the same locus as the IgA quantitative trait locus. Sequencing and subsequent genotyping of the PIGR gene revealed three divergent haplotypes that explained the variance of both the IgA QTL and the PIGR expression QTL. Genetic selection based on these markers will facilitate the production of bovine herds producing milk with higher concentrations of IgA.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The liver and the mammary gland have complementary metabolic roles during lactation. Glucose synthesized by the liver is released into the circulation and is taken up by the mammary gland where major metabolic products of glucose include milk sugar (lactose) and the glycerol backbone of milk fat (triglycerides). Hepatic synthesis of glucose is often accompanied by β-oxidation in that organ to provide energy for glucose synthesis, while mammary gland synthesizes rather than oxidizes fat during lactation. We have therefore compared enzyme abundances between the liver and mammary gland of lactating Friesian cows where metabolic output is well established. Quantitative differences in protein amount were assessed using two-dimensional differential in-gel electrophoresis. As predicted, the abundances of enzymes catalysing gluconeogenesis and β-oxidation were greatest in the liver, and enzyme abundances in mammary tissue were consistent with fat synthesis rather than β-oxidation.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2012 · Journal of proteomics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We defined the genetic landscape of balanced chromosomal rearrangements at nucleotide resolution by sequencing 141 breakpoints from cytogenetically interpreted translocations and inversions. We confirm that the recently described phenomenon of 'chromothripsis' (massive chromosomal shattering and reorganization) is not unique to cancer cells but also occurs in the germline, where it can resolve to a relatively balanced state with frequent inversions. We detected a high incidence of complex rearrangements (19.2%) and substantially less reliance on microhomology (31%) than previously observed in benign copy-number variants (CNVs). We compared these results to experimentally generated DNA breakage-repair by sequencing seven transgenic animals, revealing extensive rearrangement of the transgene and host genome with similar complexity to human germline alterations. Inversion was the most common rearrangement, suggesting that a combined mechanism involving template switching and non-homologous repair mediates the formation of balanced complex rearrangements that are viable, stably replicated and transmitted unaltered to subsequent generations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Animal growth relative to food energy input is of key importance to agricultural production. Several recent studies highlighted genetic markers associated with food conversion efficiency in beef cattle, and there is now a requirement to validate these associations in additional populations and to assess their potential utility for selecting animals with enhanced food-use efficiency. The current analysis tested a population of dairy cattle using 138 DNA markers previously associated with food intake and growth in a whole-genome association analysis of beef animals. Although seven markers showed point-wise significance at P < 0.05, none of the single-nucleotide polymorphisms tested were significantly associated with food conversion efficiency after correction for multiple testing. These data do not support the involvement of this subset of previously implicated markers in the food conversion efficiency of the physiologically distinct New Zealand Holstein-Friesian dairy breed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Variation at the pleiomorphic adenoma gene 1 (PLAG1) locus has recently been implicated in the regulation of stature and weight in Bos taurus. Using a population of 942 outbred Holstein-Friesian dairy calves, we report confirmation of this effect, demonstrating strong association of early life body weight with PLAG1 genotype. Peripubertal body weight and growth rate were also significantly associated with PLAG1 genotype. Growth rate per kilogram of body weight, daily feed intake, gross feed efficiency and residual feed intake were not significantly associated with PLAG1 genotype. This study supports the status of PLAG1 as a key regulator of mammalian growth. Further, the data indicate the utility of PLAG1 polymorphisms for the selection of animals to achieve enhanced weight gain or conversely to aid the selection of animals with lower mature body weight and thus lower maintenance energy requirements.