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Genetic and Targeted eQTL Mapping Reveals Strong Candidate Genes Modulating the Stress Response During Chicken Domestication.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8820-0098
Department of Chemistry, BMC, Analytical Chemistry and Neurochemistry, University of.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1262-4585
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
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2017 (English)In: G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, ISSN 2160-1836, E-ISSN 2160-1836, Vol. 7, no 2Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The stress response has been largely modified in all domesticated animals, offering a strong tool for genetic mapping. In chickens, ancestral Red Junglefowl react stronger both in terms of physiology and behavior to a brief restraint stress than domesticated White Leghorn, demonstrating modified functions of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. We mapped quantitative trait loci (QTL) underlying variations in stress-induced hormone levels using 232 birds from the 12th generation of an advanced intercross between White Leghorn and Red Junglefowl, genotyped for 739 genetic markers. Plasma levels of corticosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and pregnenolone (PREG) were measured using LC-MS/MS in all genotyped birds. Transcription levels of the candidate genes were measured in the adrenal glands or hypothalamus of 88 out of the 232 birds used for hormone assessment. Genes were targeted for expression analysis when they were located in a hormone QTL region and were differentially expressed in the pure breed birds. One genome-wide significant QTL on chromosome 5 and two suggestive QTL together explained 20% of the variance in corticosterone response. Two significant QTL for aldosterone on chromosome 2 and 5 (explaining 19% of the variance), and one QTL for DHEA on chromosome 4 (explaining 5% of the variance), were detected. Orthologous DNA regions to the significant corticosterone QTL have been previously associated with the physiological stress response in other species but, to our knowledge, the underlying gene(s) have not been identified. SERPINA10 had an expression QTL (eQTL) colocalized with the corticosterone QTL on chromosome 5 and PDE1C had an eQTL colocalized with the aldosterone QTL on chromosome 2. Furthermore, in both cases, the expression levels of the genes were correlated with the plasma levels of the hormones. Hence, both these genes are strong putative candidates for the domestication-induced modifications of the stress response in chickens. Improved understanding of the genes associated with HPA-axis reactivity can provide insights into the pathways and mechanisms causing stress-related pathologies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
The Genetics Society, 2017. Vol. 7, no 2
Keyword [en]
animal, domestication, quantitative trait, genes, corticosterone, aldosterone
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-134649DOI: 10.1534/g3.116.037721ISI: 000394357100015PubMedID: 27974436OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-134649DiVA: diva2:1075957
Note

Funding agencies: Swedish Research Council (SRC) (Vetenskapsradet) [621-2011-4731]; Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (Forskningsradet for Miljo, Areella Naringar och Samhallsbyggande) [221-2011-1088]; European Research Co

Available from: 2017-02-21 Created: 2017-02-21 Last updated: 2017-11-29
In thesis
1. Domestication Effects on the Stress Response in Chickens: Genetics, Physiology, and Behaviour
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Domestication Effects on the Stress Response in Chickens: Genetics, Physiology, and Behaviour
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Animal domestication, the process where animals become adapted to living in proximity to humans, is associated with the alteration of multiple traits, including decreased fearfulness and stress response. With an estimated population of 50 billion, the domesticated chicken is the most populous avian species in the world. Hundreds of chicken breeds have been developed for meat and egg production, hobby or research purposes. Multidirectional selection and the relaxation of natural selection in captivity have created immense phenotypic diversity amongst domesticates in a relatively short evolutionary time. The extensive phenotypic diversity, existence of the wild ancestor, and feasibility of intercrossing various breeds makes the chicken a suitable model animal for deciphering genetic determinants of complex traits such as stress response. We used chicken domestication as a model to gain insights about the mechanisms that regulate stress response in an avian species. We studied behavioural and physiological stress response in the ancestral Red Junglefowl and one of its domesticated progenies, White Leghorn. An advanced intercross between the aforementioned breeds was later used to map genetic loci underlying modification of stress response. The general pattern of the stress response in chickens was comparable with that reported in mammals, however we identified distinctive differences in the stress modulatory pathways in chickens. We showed that changes in the expression levels of several stress modulatory genes in the brain, the pituitary and the adrenal glands underlie the observed modified stress response in domesticated chickens. Using quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping, several QTL underlying stress induced corticosterone, aldosterone and baseline dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels were detected. As a next step, we combined QTL mapping with gene expression (eQTL) mapping and narrowed two QTL down to the putative causal genes, SERPINA10 and PDE1C. Both of these genes were differentially expressed in the adrenal glands of White Leghorn and the Red Junglefowl, had overlapping eQTL with hormonal QTL, and their expression levels in the adrenal glands were correlated with plasma levels of corticosterone and al-dosterone. These two genes thus serve as strong candidates for further functional investigation concerning modification of the stress response during domestication. This dissertation increase the knowledge about genetics and physiology of the stress response in an avian species and its modification during domestication. Our findings expand the basic knowledge about the stress response in chicken, which can potentially be used to improve welfare through appropriate genetic selection.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2017. 31 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1842
Keyword
Animal domestication, stress response, gene expression, QTL, eQTL
National Category
Genetics Evolutionary Biology Zoology Developmental Biology Genetics and Breeding
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-137350 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-137350 (DOI)9789176855461 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-06-09, Plank, Fysikhuset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 09:00
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Available from: 2017-05-15 Created: 2017-05-15 Last updated: 2017-05-15Bibliographically approved

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