A genomewide association study in divergently selected lines in rabbits reveals novel genomic regions associated with litter size traits
Sosa‐Madrid, Bolívar Samuel
Santacreu, María Antonia
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Uterine capacity (UC), defined as the total number of kits from unilaterally ovariectomized does at birth, has a high genetic correlation with litter size. The aim of our research was to identify genomic regions associated with litter size traits through a genomewide association study using rabbits from a divergent selection experiment for UC. A high‐density SNP array (200K) was used to genotype 181 does from a control population, high and low UC lines. Traits included total number born (TNB), number born alive (NBA), number born dead, ovulation rate (OR), implanted embryos (IE) and embryo, foetal and prenatal survivals at second parity. We implemented the Bayes B method and the associations were tested by Bayes factors and the percentage of genomic variance (GV) explained by windows. Different genomic regions associated with TNB, NBA, IE and OR were found. These regions explained 7.36%, 1.27%, 15.87% and 3.95% of GV, respectively. Two consecutive windows on chromosome 17 were associated with TNB, NBA and IE. This genomic region accounted for 6.32% of GV of TNB. In this region, we found the BMP4, PTDGR, PTGER2, STYX and CDKN3 candidate genes which presented functional annotations linked to some reproductive processes. Our findings suggest that a genomic region on chromosome 17 has an important effect on litter size traits. However, further analyses are needed to validate this region in other maternal rabbit lines.