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Genome-wide association and selective sweep analyses reveal genetic loci for FCR of egg production traits in ducks
Genetics Selection Evolution  (IF4.297),  Pub Date : 2021-12-20, DOI: 10.1186/s12711-021-00684-5
Liu, Hehe, Wang, Lei, Guo, Zhanbao, Xu, Qian, Fan, Wenlei, Xu, Yaxi, Hu, Jian, Zhang, Yunsheng, Tang, Jing, Xie, Ming, Zhou, Zhengkui, Hou, Shuisheng

As a major economic trait in poultry, egg production efficiency attracts widespread interest in breeding and production. However, limited information is available about the underlying genetic architecture of egg production traits in ducks. In this paper, we analyzed six egg production-related traits in 352 F2 ducks derived from reciprocal crosses between mallard and Pekin ducks. Feed conversation ratio (FCR) was positively correlated with feed intake but negatively correlated with egg-related traits, including egg weight and egg production, both phenotypically and genetically. Estimates of pedigree-based heritability were higher than 0.2 for all traits investigated, except hip-width. Based on whole-genome sequencing data, we conducted genome-wide association studies to identify genomic regions associated with these traits. In total, 11 genomic regions were associated with FCR. No genomic regions were identified as significantly associated with hip-width, total feed intake, average daily feed intake, and total egg production. Analysis of selective sweeps between mallard and Pekin ducks confirmed three of these genomic regions on chromosomes 13, 3 and 6. Within these three regions, variants in candidate genes that were in linkage disequilibrium with the GWAS leader single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (Chr13:2,196,728, P = 7.05 × 10–14; Chr3:76,991,524, P = 1.06 × 10–12; Chr6:20,356,803, P = 1.14 × 10–10) were detected. Thus, we identified 31 potential candidate genes associated with FCR, among which the strongest candidates are those that are highly expressed in tissues involved in reproduction and nervous system functions of ducks: CNTN4, CRBR, GPR63, KLHL32, FHL5, TRNT1, MANEA, NDUFAF4, and SCD. For the first time, we report the identification of genomic regions that are associated with FCR in ducks and our results illustrate the genomic changes that occurred during their domestication and are involved in egg production efficiency.