Association of MITF loci with coat color spotting patterns in Ethiopian cattle
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- Edea, Z., Dadi, H., Dessie, T. et al. Genes Genom (2017) 39: 285. doi:10.1007/s13258-016-0493-4
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The genetics of coat color have been the focus of investigation for decades because beyond its aesthetic values, coat color is associated with thermo-tolerance, production and health traits. Despite the fascinating coat color phenotypes observed in Ethiopian cattle populations, up to now, there are no studies performed to identify and characterize polymorphisms associated with such variation at the genome level. In an attempt to identify and map the genetic basis of coat color variation in Ethiopian cattle, a genome-wide association study (GWAS), selection signatures test and network analysis were performed in 187 cattle populations genotyped on Illumina high-density chip. Loci significant at the genome-wide level (P ≤ 8.29 × 10−7) and show selection signals (FST − 5SNP window = 0.13) were mainly localized on BTA22 (31.53–31.99) within the MITF gene. Network and functional annotation clustering analyses revealed that the candidate genes are involved in important pathways including melanogenesis. The results of the present study suggest a role of the MITF gene and its interaction with other genes in determining the spotting patterns observed in the Begait and Fogera cattle populations.