Single nucleotide polymorphisms in the growth hormone-insulin-like growth factor axis in straightbred and crossbred Angus, Brahman, and Romosinuano heifers: population genetic analyses and association of genotypes with reproductive phenotypes.
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The growth endocrine axis influences reproduction. The objectives of this study were to evaluate population genetic characteristics of SNP genotypes within genes of the GH-IGF axis in straightbred and crossbred Angus, Brahman, and Romosinuano heifers (n = 650) and to test the association of these genotypes with measures of reproduction. These objectives were achieved using 73 SNP within 7 genes on chromosome 5 and the pregnancy-associated plasma protein A2 (PAPP-A2) and GH-receptor genes, which map to chromosomes 16 and 20, respectively. The SNP were elucidated by resequencing conserved regions of each gene by using DNA from familial-unrelated cattle of a multibreed discovery population. A multiplex SNP assay yielded 59 biallelic SNP useful for evaluating genetic identity and distance. Specifically, the divergence of straightbred Brahman cattle was approximately 15.5% from 5 Bos taurus-influenced breed groups. In the straightbred groups used as a validation population, only 3 SNP had minor allele frequencies >10%. These SNP were in the genes PAPP-A2 (ss115492449-A/C and ss115492450-G/T within intron 10) and signal transducers and activators of transcription 2 (STAT2; ss252841035-A/G within the 5' untranslated region), and they met the conditions of Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (P > 0.31). The other 56 SNP were useful for assigning each animal into ancestral clusters (n = 3 proportions) to account for population stratification in genotype to phenotype association analyses. The 2 SNP in the PAPP-A2 gene influenced (P < 0.05) traits indicative of first-calf heifer rebreeding (i.e., calving interval, days to calving, and pregnancy rate). A STAT2 SNP genotype (i.e., GG) primary ancestral cluster interaction (P < 0.05) suggested heifers primarily of B. taurus ancestry had a reduction of approximately 16.4 0.1% in calving interval and days to calving relative to heifers clustering primarily as Bos indicus ancestry. Even though additional research is needed to delineate the allelic variation attributed to genes of the GH-IGF axis, results of this study provide support for STAT2 and PAPP-A2 as potential candidate genes associated with first-calf heifer rebreeding traits.