Browsing Doctoral Degrees (Genetics) by browse.metadata.advisor "Cloete, Schalk W. P."
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- ItemIdentification of SNPs associated with robustness and greater reproductive success in the South African merino sheep using SNP chip technology(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2015-04) Sandenbergh, Lise; Cloete, Schalk W. P.; Roodt-Wilding, Rouvay; Van der Merwe, Aletta; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Agrisciences. Dept. of Genetics.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Reproduction and robustness traits are integral in ensuring sustainable, efficient and profitable sheep farming. Increases in genetic gain of reproduction and robustness traits are however, hampered by low heritability coupled with the difficulty in quantification of these traits for traditional selective breeding strategies. The aim of the current study was therefore to identify genomic regions underlying variation in reproduction traits and elucidate quantitative trait loci (QTL) and/or genes associated with reproductive traits. The Elsenburg Merino flock has been divergently selected for the ability to raise multiple offspring and has resulted in a High and a Low line that differ markedly with regard to reproductive output and other robustness traits. The flock thus served as an ideal platform to identify genomic regions subject to selection for reproductive traits. To pinpoint genomic regions subject to selection, a whole-genome genotyping platform, the OvineSNP50 chip, was selected to determine the genotype of more than 50 000 SNPs spread evenly across the ovine genome. The utility of the OvineSNP50 chip was determined for the Elsenburg Merino flock as well as additional South African Merino samples and three other important South African sheep breeds, the Blackheaded Dorper, South African Mutton Merino (SAMM) and the Namaqua Afrikaner. Although genotyping analysis of the Elsenburg Merino flock indicated some signs of poor genotype quality, the overall utility of the genotype data were successfully demonstrated for the South African Merino and the other two commercial breeds, the Dorper and SAMM. Genotyping results of the Namaqua Afrikaner and possibly other indigenous African breeds may be influenced by SNP ascertainment bias due to the limited number of indigenous African breeds used during SNP discovery. Analysis of pedigree, phenotypic records and SNP genotype data of the Elsenburg Merino cohort used in the current study, confirmed that the lines are phenotypically as well as genetically distinct. Numerous putative genomic regions subject to selection were identified by either an FST outlier approach or a genomic scan for regions of homozygosity (ROH) in the High and Low lines. Although annotated genes with putative roles in reproduction were identified, the exact mechanism of involvement with variation in reproduction traits could not be determined for all regions and genes. Putative ROH overlapped with QTL for several reproduction, milk, production and parasite resistance traits, and sheds some light on the possible function of these regions. The overlap between QTL for production and parasite resistance with putative ROH may indicate that several, seemingly unrelated traits add to the net-reproduction and may have been indirectly selected in the Elsenburg Merino flock. A SNP genotyping panel based solely on reproduction traits may therefore be ineffective to capture the variation in all traits influencing reproduction and robustness traits. A holistic selection strategy taking several important traits, such as robustness, reproduction and production into account may as such be a more effective strategy to breed animals with the ability to produce and reproduce more efficiently and thereby ensure profitable and sustainable sheep farming in South Africa.