Admixture mapping reveals loci for carcass mass in red deer x sika hybrids in Kintyre, Scotland

S Eryn Mcfarlane, Josephine M Pemberton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We deployed admixture mapping on a sample of 386 deer from a hybrid swarm between native red deer (Cervus elaphus) and introduced Japanese sika (Cervus nippon) sampled in Kintyre, Scotland to search for Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) underpinning phenotypic differences between the species. These two species are highly diverged genetically (Fst between pure species, based on 50K SNPs, = 0.532) and phenotypically: pure red have on average twice the carcass mass of pure sika in our sample (38.7 kg vs 19.1 kg). After controlling for sex, age and population genetic structure we found ten autosomal genomic locations with QTL for carcass mass. Effect sizes ranged from 0.191 to 1.839 Kg and as expected, in all cases the allele derived from sika conferred lower carcass mass. The sika population was fixed for all small carcass mass alleles, whereas the red deer population was typically polymorphic. GO term analysis of genes lying in the QTL regions are associated with oxygen transport. Although body mass is a likely target of selection, none of the SNPs marking QTL are introgressing faster or slower than expected in either direction.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberjkab274
Number of pages19
JournalG3: Genes | Genomes | Genetics
Issue number10
Early online date2 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • admixture mapping
  • hybridization
  • carcass mass
  • cervus elaphus
  • C. nippon


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