Browsing Animal & Grassland Research & Innovation Programme by Funder "Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency"
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Liver transcriptome profiling of beef steers with divergent growth rate, feed intake, or metabolic body weight phenotypesAverage daily gain (ADG) and daily dry matter intake (DMI) are key determinants of beef industry profitability. These traits together with metabolic body weight (MWT) are combined as component traits to calculate residual feed intake (RFI), a common measure of feed efficiency in beef cattle. Recently, there have been significant efforts towards molecular genetic characterization of RFI through transcriptomic studies in different breeds and tissues. However, molecular mechanisms of RFI component traits still remain predominately unexplored. Therefore, in the current study, we investigated the hepatic transcriptomic profiles and their associations with ADG, DMI, and MWT in Angus, Charolais, and Kinsella Composite (KC) populations through global RNAseq analyses. In each population and for each trait, 12 steers with extreme phenotypes (n = 6 low and n = 6 high) were analyzed for differential gene expression. These animals were from 20 beef steers of each Angus, Charolais, and KC breed population that were initially selected for a transcriptome study of RFI. At a false discovery rate <0.05 and fold change >1.5, we identified 123, 102, and 78 differentially expressed (DE) genes between high- and lowADG animals of Angus, Charolais, and KC populations, respectively. For DMI, 108, 180, and 156 DE genes were identified between high- and low-DMI from Angus, Charolais, and KC populations, respectively, while for MWT, 80, 82, and 84 genes were differentially expressed between high- and low-MWT animals in Angus, Charolais, and KC populations, respectively. The identified DE genes were largely breed specific (81.7% for ADG, 82.7% for DMI, and 83% for MWT), but were largely involved in the same biological functions across the breeds. Among the most enriched biological functions included metabolism of major nutrients (lipids, carbohydrates, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals), small molecule biochemistry, cellular movement, cell morphology, and cell-to-cell signaling and interaction. Notably, we identified multiple DE genes that are involved in cholesterol biosynthesis, and immune response pathways for the 3 studied traits. Thus, our findings present potential molecular genetic mechanisms and candidate genes that influence feed intake, growth, and MWT of beef cattle.
The relationship between serum anti-Müllerian hormone concentrations and fertility, and genome-wide associations for anti-Müllerian hormone in Holstein cowsThe objectives of this study were to (1) evaluate factors associated with variation in circulating anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) concentrations, (2) establish an optimum AMH threshold predictive of pregnancy to first artificial insemination (P/AI), (3) examine the relationship between AMH and fertility (P/AI, pregnancy loss between 30 and 60 d after artificial insemination, and pregnancy risk up to 250 d postpartum), and (4) identify quantitative trait loci associated with phenotypic variation of AMH concentrations in dairy cows. Serum AMH concentrations (pg/mL) were determined at 7 ± 2.4 d postpartum in 647 lactating Holstein cows (213 primiparous, 434 multiparous) from 1 research and 6 commercial dairy herds in Alberta, Canada. Of these, 589 cows were genotyped on the 26K Bovine BeadChip (Neogen Inc., Lincoln, NE) and subsequently imputed to the Illumina Bovine High Density BeadChip (Illumina, San Diego, CA) for genome-wide association analysis for variation in serum AMH concentrations. Factors associated with variation in serum AMH concentrations and the relationship between categories of AMH and aforementioned fertility outcomes were evaluated only in a subset of 460 cows that had a complete data set available. The overall mean (±standard error of the mean), median, minimum, and maximum AMH concentrations were 191.1 ± 6.3, 151.7, 13.9, and 1,879.0 pg/mL, respectively. The AMH concentrations were not associated with herd, precalving body condition score, postpartum week, and season of sampling; the lactation number, however, had a quadratic relationship with serum AMH concentrations (116.2, 204.9 204.5, and 157.9 pg/mL for first, second, third, and ≥fourth lactation, respectively). The optimum AMH threshold predictive of P/AI could not be established because the receiver operating characteristic curve analysis model was nonsignificant. Categories of AMH [low (<83.0 pg/mL; n = 92), intermediate (≥83.0 to ≤285.0 pg/mL; n = 276), and high (>285.0 pg/mL; n = 92) based on lowest 20%, intermediate 60%, and highest 20% serum AMH) had no associations with P/AI (34, 43, and 40%), pregnancy loss between 30 and 60 d after artificial insemination (20, 12, and 8%), or pregnancy risk up to 250 d postpartum. One candidate gene associated with AMH production [AMH gene on Bos taurus autosome (BTA) 7] and 4 candidate genes related to embryo development (SCAI and PPP6C genes on BTA11 and FGF18 and EEF2K genes on BTA20 and BTA25, respectively) were in linkage disequilibrium with single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with phenotypic variation in serum AMH in dairy cows.
The relationship between serum insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) concentration and reproductive performance, and genome-wide associations for serum IGF-1 in Holstein cowsThe objectives of this study were to determine (1) factors associated with serum concentration of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1); (2) the relationship between serum IGF-1 concentration during the first week postpartum and ovarian cyclicity status by 35 d postpartum (DPP); (3) an optimum serum IGF-1 concentration threshold predictive of pregnancy to first artificial insemination (P/AI), including its diagnostic values; (4) the associations among categories of serum IGF-1 concentration and reproductive outcomes (P/AI and pregnancy risk up to 150 and 250 DPP); and (5) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) associated with phenotypic variation in serum IGF-1 concentration in dairy cows. Serum IGF-1 concentration was determined at 7 (±2.4; ±standard error of the mean) DPP in 647 lactating Holstein cows (213 primiparous, 434 multiparous) from 7 herds in Alberta, Canada. The overall mean, median, minimum, and maximum serum IGF-1 concentrations during the first week postpartum were 37.8 (±1.23), 31.0, 20.0, and 225.0 ng/mL, respectively. Herd, age, parity, precalving body condition score, and season of blood sampling were all identified as factors associated with serum IGF-1 concentrations. Although serum IGF-1 concentration during the first week postpartum had no association with ovarian cyclicity status by 35 DPP in primiparous cows, it was greater in cyclic than in acyclic multiparous cows (32.2 vs. 27.4 ng/mL, respectively). The optimum serum IGF-1 thresholds predictive of P/AI were 85.0 ng/mL (sensitivity = 31.9%; specificity = 89.1%) and 31.0 ng/mL (sensitivity = 45.5%; specificity = 66.9%) for primiparous and multiparous cows, respectively. When cows were grouped into either high or low IGF-1 categories (greater or less than or equal to 85.0 ng/mL for primiparous cows and greater or less than or equal to 31.0 ng/mL for multiparous cows, respectively), primiparous cows with high IGF-1 had 4.43 times greater odds of P/AI and a tendency for higher pregnancy risk up to 150 DPP than those with low IGF-1, but not up to 250 DPP. Likewise, multiparous cows with high IGF-1 had 1.61 times greater odds of P/AI than those with low IGF-1. Pregnancy risk up to 150 and 250 DPP, however, did not differ between IGF-1 categories in multiparous cows. Moreover, 37 SNP across 10 Bos taurus autosomes were associated with variation in serum IGF-1 concentration, and 4 previously identified candidate genes related to fertility that were in linkage disequilibrium with some of these SNP were also identified.
Transcriptome analyses reveal reduced hepatic lipid synthesis and accumulation in more feed efficient beef cattleThe genetic mechanisms controlling residual feed intake (RFI) in beef cattle are still largely unknown. Here we performed whole transcriptome analyses to identify differentially expressed (DE) genes and their functional roles in liver tissues between six extreme high and six extreme low RFI steers from three beef breed populations including Angus, Charolais, and Kinsella Composite (KC). On average, the next generation sequencing yielded 34 million single-end reads per sample, of which 87% were uniquely mapped to the bovine reference genome. At false discovery rate (FDR) < 0.05 and fold change (FC) > 2, 72, 41, and 175 DE genes were identified in Angus, Charolais, and KC, respectively. Most of the DE genes were breed-specific, while five genes including TP53INP1, LURAP1L, SCD, LPIN1, and ENSBTAG00000047029 were common across the three breeds, with TP53INP1, LURAP1L, SCD, and LPIN1 being downregulated in low RFI steers of all three breeds. The DE genes are mainly involved in lipid, amino acid and carbohydrate metabolism, energy production, molecular transport, small molecule biochemistry, cellular development, and cell death and survival. Furthermore, our differential gene expression results suggest reduced hepatic lipid synthesis and accumulation processes in more feed efficient beef cattle of all three studied breeds.