Research Article

DNA polymorphisms of the Hu sheep melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) gene associated with birth weight and 45d-weaning weight

Published: December 17, 2012
Genet. Mol. Res. 11 (4) : 4432-4441 DOI: 10.4238/2012.September.27.3

Abstract

The melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) has important roles in regulating food intake, energy balance, and body weight in mammals. In pigs and cattle, MC4R mutations have been identified as genetic markers for growth and traits. Compared with abundant research conducted on other livestock species, little is known about mutations of the ovine MC4R gene. We investigated the effect of MC4R polymorphisms on birth weight and on 45-day weaning weight in 144 Hu sheep. Four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs; g.1016 G/A, g.1240 T/C, g.1264 G/A, and g.1325 A/G) were identified in the 3ꞌ-untranslated region of Hu sheep MC4R by PCR-single-strand conformation polymorphism and DNA sequencing. A haplotype block, containing g.1240 T/C, g.1264 G/A, and g.1325 A/G, was constructed within the Hu sheep MC4R gene. Four SNPs were found to be significantly associated with 45-day weaning weight, while the haplotype block was significantly associated with birth weight. Hu sheep with the genotypes GG in g.1016 G/A or with the genotype CCAAGG in the haplotype block, had higher 45-day weaning weights. We conclude that these 4 SNPs of the MC4R gene have potential as genetic markers for early growth traits in Hu sheep.

The melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) has important roles in regulating food intake, energy balance, and body weight in mammals. In pigs and cattle, MC4R mutations have been identified as genetic markers for growth and traits. Compared with abundant research conducted on other livestock species, little is known about mutations of the ovine MC4R gene. We investigated the effect of MC4R polymorphisms on birth weight and on 45-day weaning weight in 144 Hu sheep. Four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs; g.1016 G/A, g.1240 T/C, g.1264 G/A, and g.1325 A/G) were identified in the 3ꞌ-untranslated region of Hu sheep MC4R by PCR-single-strand conformation polymorphism and DNA sequencing. A haplotype block, containing g.1240 T/C, g.1264 G/A, and g.1325 A/G, was constructed within the Hu sheep MC4R gene. Four SNPs were found to be significantly associated with 45-day weaning weight, while the haplotype block was significantly associated with birth weight. Hu sheep with the genotypes GG in g.1016 G/A or with the genotype CCAAGG in the haplotype block, had higher 45-day weaning weights. We conclude that these 4 SNPs of the MC4R gene have potential as genetic markers for early growth traits in Hu sheep.