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Complex traits analysis of chicken growth using targeted genetical genomics

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Abstract

Dissecting the genetic control of complex trait variation remains very challenging, despite many advances in technology. The aim of this study was to use a major growth quantitative trait locus (QTL) in chickens mapped to chromosome 4 as a model for a targeted approach to dissect the QTL. We applied a variant of the genetical genomics approach to investigate genome-wide gene expression differences between two contrasting genotypes of a marked QTL. This targeted approach allows the direct quantification of the link between the genotypes and the genetic responses, thus narrowing the QTL-phenotype gap using fewer samples (i.e. microarrays) compared with the genome-wide genetical genomics studies. Four differentially expressed genes were localized under the region of the QTL. One of these genes is a potential positional candidate gene (AADAT) that affects lysine and tryptophan metabolism and has alternative splicing variants between the two genotypes. In addition, the lysine and glycolysis metabolism pathways were significantly enriched for differentially expressed genes across the genome. The targeted approach provided a complementary route to fine mapping of QTL by characterizing the local and the global downstream effects of the QTL and thus generating further hypotheses about the action of that QTL.

ID: 2365642