Genomic analysis of morphometric traits in bighorn sheep using the Ovine Infinium (R) HD SNP BeadChip
AuthorMiller, JM; Festa-Bianchet, M; Coltman, DW
University of Melbourne Author/sFesta-Bianchet, Marco
AffiliationSchool of BioSciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsMiller, J. M., Festa-Bianchet, M. & Coltman, D. W. (2018). Genomic analysis of morphometric traits in bighorn sheep using the Ovine Infinium (R) HD SNP BeadChip. PEERJ, 6 (2), https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4364.
Access StatusOpen Access
Elucidating the genetic basis of fitness-related traits is a major goal of molecular ecology. Traits subject to sexual selection are particularly interesting, as non-random mate choice should deplete genetic variation and thereby their evolutionary benefits. We examined the genetic basis of three sexually selected morphometric traits in bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis): horn length, horn base circumference, and body mass. These traits are of specific concern in bighorn sheep as artificial selection through trophy hunting opposes sexual selection. Specifically, horn size determines trophy status and, in most North American jurisdictions, if an individual can be legally harvested. Using between 7,994-9,552 phenotypic measures from the long-term individual-based study at Ram Mountain (Alberta, Canada), we first showed that all three traits are heritable (h2 = 0.15-0.23). We then conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) utilizing a set of 3,777 SNPs typed in 76 individuals using the Ovine Infinium® HD SNP BeadChip. We found suggestive association for body mass at a single locus (OAR9_91647990). The absence of strong associations with SNPs suggests that the traits are likely polygenic. These results represent a step forward for characterizing the genetic architecture of fitness related traits in sexually dimorphic ungulates.
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