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1.  Analytical and statistical consideration on the use of the ISAG-ICAR-SNP bovine panel for parentage control, using the Illumina BeadChip technology: example on the German Holstein population 
Parentage control is moving from short tandem repeats- to single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) systems. For SNP-based parentage control in cattle, the ISAG-ICAR Committee proposes a set of 100/200 SNPs but quality criteria are lacking. Regarding German Holstein-Friesian cattle with only a limited number of evaluated individuals, the exclusion probability is not well-defined. We propose a statistical procedure for excluding single SNPs from parentage control, based on case-by-case evaluation of the GenCall score, to minimize parentage exclusion, based on miscalled genotypes. Exclusion power of the ISAG-ICAR SNPs used for the German Holstein-Friesian population was adjusted based on the results of more than 25 000 individuals.
Experimental data were derived from routine genomic selection analyses of the German Holstein-Friesian population using the Illumina BovineSNP50 v2 BeadChip (20 000 individuals) or the EuroG10K variant (7000 individuals). Averages and standard deviations of GenCall scores for the 200 SNPs of the ISAG-ICAR recommended panel were calculated and used to calculate the downward Z-value. Based on minor allelic frequencies in the Holstein-Friesian population, one minus exclusion probability was equal to 1.4×10−10 and 7.2×10−26, with one and two parents, respectively. Two monomorphic SNPs from the 100-SNP ISAG-ICAR core-panel did not contribute. Simulation of 10 000 parentage control combinations, using the GenCall score data from both BeadChips, showed that with a Z-value greater than 3.66 only about 2.5% parentages were excluded, based on the ISAG-ICAR recommendations (core-panel: ≥ 90 SNPs for one, ≥ 85 SNPs for two parents). When applied to real data from 1750 single parentage assessments, the optimal threshold was determined to be Z = 5.0, with only 34 censored cases and reduction to four (0.2%) doubtful parentages. About 70 parentage exclusions due to weak genotype calls were avoided, whereas true exclusions (n = 34) were unaffected.
Using SNPs for parentage evaluation provides a high exclusion power also for parent identification. SNPs with a low GenCall score show a high tendency towards intra-molecular secondary structures and substantially contribute to false exclusion of parentages. We propose a method that controls this error without excluding too many parent combinations from the evaluation.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12711-014-0085-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4318447  PMID: 25651826
2.  Genome Aberrations in Canine Mammary Carcinomas and Their Detection in Cell-Free Plasma DNA 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75485.
Mammary tumors are the most frequent cancers in female dogs exhibiting a variety of histopathological differences. There is lack of knowledge about the genomes of these common dog tumors. Five tumors of three different histological subtypes were evaluated. Massive parallel sequencing (MPS) was performed in comparison to the respective somatic genome of each animal. Copy number and structural aberrations were validated using droplet digital PCR (ddPCR). Using mate-pair sequencing chromosomal aneuploidies were found in two tumors, frequent smaller deletions were found in one, inter-chromosomal fusions in one other, whereas one tumor was almost normal. These aberrations affect several known cancer associated genes such as cMYC, and KIT. One common deletion of the proximal end of CFA27, harboring the tumor suppressor gene PFDN5 was detected in four tumors. Using ddPCR, this deletion was validated and detected in 50% of tumors (N = 20). Breakpoint specific dPCRs were established for four tumors and tumor specific cell-free DNA (cfDNA) was detected in the plasma. In one animal tumor-specific cfDNA was found >1 year after surgery, attributable to a lung metastasis. Paired-end sequencing proved that copy-number imbalances of the tumor are reflected by the cfDNA. This report on chromosomal instability of canine mammary cancers reveals similarities to human breast cancers as well as special canine alterations. This animal model provides a framework for using MPS for screening for individual cancer biomarkers with cost effective confirmation and monitoring using ddPCR. The possibility exists that ddPCR can be expanded to screening for common cancer related variants.
PMCID: PMC3787092  PMID: 24098698
3.  The G32E Functional Variant Reduces Activity of PPARD by Nuclear Export and Post-Translational Modification in Pigs 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75925.
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor beta/delta (PPARD) is a crucial and multifaceted determinant of diverse biological functions including lipid metabolism, embryonic development, inflammatory response, wound healing and cancer. Recently, we proposed a novel function of porcine PPARD (sPPARD) in external ear development. A missense mutation (G32E) in an evolutionary conservative domain of sPPARD remarkably increases external ear size in pigs. Here, we investigated the underlying molecular mechanism of the causal mutation at the cellular level. Using a luciferase reporter system, we showed that the G32E substitution reduced transcription activity of sPPARD in a ligand-dependent manner. By comparison of the subcellular localization of wild-type and mutated sPPARD in both PK-15 cells and pinna cartilage-derived primary chondrocytes, we found that the G32E substitution promoted CRM-1 mediated nuclear exportation of sPPARD. With the surface plasmon resonance technology, we further revealed that the G32E substitution had negligible effect on its ligand binding affinity. Finally, we used co-immunoprecipitation and luciferase reporter assays to show that the G32E substitution greatly reduced ubiquitination level by blocking ubiquitination of the crucial A/B domain and consequently decreased transcription activity of sPPARD. Taken together, our findings strongly support that G32E is a functional variant that plays a key role in biological activity of sPPARD, which advances our understanding of the underlying mechanism of sPPARD G32E for ear size in pigs.
PMCID: PMC3776753  PMID: 24058710
4.  Detergents modify proteinase K resistance of PrPSc in different transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) 
Veterinary Microbiology  2011;157(1-2):23-31.
Prion diseases are diagnosed by the detection of their proteinase K-resistant prion protein fragment (PrPSc). Various biochemical protocols use different detergents for the tissue preparation. We found that the resistance of PrPSc against proteinase K may vary strongly with the detergent used. In our study, we investigated the influence of the most commonly used detergents on eight different TSE agents derived from different species and distinct prion disease forms. For a high throughput we used a membrane adsorbtion assay to detect small amounts of prion aggregates, as well as Western blotting. Tissue lysates were prepared using DOC, SLS, SDS or Triton X-100 in different concentrations and these were digested with various amounts of proteinase K. Detergents are able to enhance or diminish the detectability of PrPSc after proteinase K digestion. Depending on the kind of detergent, its concentration - but also on the host species that developed the TSE and the disease form or prion type - the detectability of PrPSc can be very different. The results obtained here may be helpful during the development or improvement of a PrPSc detection method and they point towards a detergent effect that can be additionally used for decontamination purposes. A plausible explanation for the detergent effects described in this article could be an interaction with the lipids associated with PrPSc that may stabilize the aggregates.
PMCID: PMC3338006  PMID: 22226540
prion protein; scrapie; BSE; chronic wasting disease; proteinase resistance; detergent
5.  Extrinsic and intrinsic regulation of DOR/TP53INP2 expression in mice: effects of dietary fat content, tissue type and sex in adipose and muscle tissues 
DOR/TP53INP2 acts both at the chromosomal level as a nuclear co-factor e.g. for the thyroid hormone receptor and at the extrachromosomal level as an organizing factor of the autophagosome. In a previous study, DOR was shown to be down-regulated in skeletal muscle of obese diabetic Zucker fa/fa rats.
To identify sites of differential DOR expression in metabolically active tissues, we measured differences in DOR expression in white adipose tissue (WAT), brown adipose tissue (BAT), skeletal muscle (SM) and heart muscle (HM) by qPCR. To assess whether DOR expression is influenced in the short term by nutritional factors, NMRI mice were fed different fat rich diets (fat diet, FD: 18% or high fat diet, HFD: 80% fat) for one week and DOR expression was compared to NMRI mice fed a control diet (normal diet, ND: 3.3% fat). Additionally, DOR expression was measured in young (45 days old) and adult (100 days old) genetically obese (DU6/DU6i) mice and compared to control (DUKs/DUKsi) animals.
ANOVA results demonstrate a significant influence of diet, tissue type and sex on DOR expression in adipose and muscle tissues of FD and HFD mice. In SM, DOR expression was higher in HFD than in FD male mice. In WAT, DOR expression was increased compared to BAT in male FD and HFD mice. In contrast, expression levels in female mice were higher in BAT for both dietary conditions.
DOR expression levels in all tissues of 100 days old genetically obese animals were mainly influenced by sex. In HM, DOR expression was higher in male than female animals.
DOR expression varies under the influence of dietary fat content, tissue type and sex. We identified target tissues for further studies to analyze the specific function of DOR in obesity. DOR might be part of a defense mechanism against fat storage in high fat diets or obesity.
PMCID: PMC3497704  PMID: 22995226
DOR/TP53INP2; High fat diet; Genetically induced obesity; Fat tissue; Muscle tissue
6.  Phenotype Selection Reveals Coevolution of Muscle Glycogen and Protein and PTEN as a Gate Keeper for the Accretion of Muscle Mass in Adult Female Mice 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39711.
We have investigated molecular mechanisms for muscle mass accretion in a non-inbred mouse model (DU6P mice) characterized by extreme muscle mass. This extreme muscle mass was developed during 138 generations of phenotype selection for high protein content. Due to the repeated trait selection a complex setting of different mechanisms was expected to be enriched during the selection experiment. In muscle from 29-week female DU6P mice we have identified robust increases of protein kinase B activation (AKT, Ser-473, up to 2-fold) if compared to 11- and 54-week DU6P mice or controls. While a number of accepted effectors of AKT activation, including IGF-I, IGF-II, insulin/IGF-receptor, myostatin or integrin-linked kinase (ILK), were not correlated with this increase, phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) was down-regulated in 29-week female DU6P mice. In addition, higher levels of PTEN phosphorylation were found identifying a second mechanism of PTEN inhibition. Inhibition of PTEN and activation of AKT correlated with specific activation of p70S6 kinase and ribosomal protein S6, reduced phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 2α (eIF2α) and higher rates of protein synthesis in 29-week female DU6P mice. On the other hand, AKT activation also translated into specific inactivation of glycogen synthase kinase 3ß (GSK3ß) and an increase of muscular glycogen. In muscles from 29-week female DU6P mice a significant increase of protein/DNA was identified, which was not due to a reduction of protein breakdown or to specific increases of translation initiation. Instead our data support the conclusion that a higher rate of protein translation is contributing to the higher muscle mass in mid-aged female DU6P mice. Our results further reveal coevolution of high protein and high glycogen content during the selection experiment and identify PTEN as gate keeper for muscle mass in mid-aged female DU6P mice.
PMCID: PMC3387210  PMID: 22768110
7.  Novel polysome messages and changes in translational activity appear after induction of adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 cells 
Control of translation allows for rapid adaptation of the cell to stimuli, rather than the slower transcriptional control. We presume that translational control is an essential process in the control of adipogenesis, especially in the first hours after hormonal stimulation. 3T3-L1 preadipocytes were cultured to confluency and adipogenesis was induced by standard protocols using a hormonal cocktail. Cells were harvested before and 6 hours after hormonal induction. mRNAs attached to ribosomes (polysomal mRNAs) were separated from unbound mRNAs by velocity sedimentation. Pools of polysomal and unbound mRNA fractions were analyzed by microarray analysis. Changes in relative abundance in unbound and polysomal mRNA pools were calculated to detect putative changes in translational activity. Changes of expression levels of selected genes were verified by qPCR and Western blotting.
We identified 43 genes that shifted towards the polysomal fraction (up-regulated) and 2 genes that shifted towards free mRNA fraction (down-regulated). Interestingly, we found Ghrelin to be down-regulated. Up-regulated genes comprise factors that are nucleic acid binding (eIF4B, HSF1, IRF6, MYC, POLR2a, RPL18, RPL27a, RPL6, RPL7a, RPS18, RPSa, TSC22d3), form part of ribosomes (RPL18, RPL27a, RPL6, RPL7a, RPS18, RPSa), act on the regulation of translation (eIF4B) or transcription (HSF1, IRF6, MYC, TSC22d3). Others act as chaperones (BAG3, HSPA8, HSP90ab1) or in other metabolic or signals transducing processes.
We conclude that a moderate reorganisation of the functionality of the ribosomal machinery and translational activity are very important steps for growth and gene expression control in the initial phase of adipogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3347988  PMID: 22436005
8.  Polymorphisms in the bovine HSP90AB1 gene are associated with heat tolerance in Thai indigenous cattle 
Heat shock proteins act as molecular chaperones that have preferentially been transcribed in response to severe perturbations of the cellular homeostasis such as heat stress. Here the traits respiration rate (RR), rectal temperature (RT), pack cell volume (PCV) and the individual heat tolerance coefficient (HTC) were recorded as physiological responses on heat stress (environmental temperatures) in Bos taurus (crossbred Holstein Friesian; HF) and B. indicus (Thai native cattle: White Lamphun; WL and Mountain cattle; MT) animals (n = 47) in Thailand. Polymorphisms of the heat shock protein 90-kDa beta gene (HSP90AB1) were evaluated by comparative sequencing. Nine single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) were identified, i.e. three in exons 10 and 11, five in introns 8, 9, 10 and 11, and one in the 3′UTR. The exon 11 SNP g.5082C>T led to a missense mutation (alanine to valine). During the period of extreme heat (in the afternoon) RR and RT were elevated in each of the three breeds, whereas the PCV decreased. Mountain cattle and White Lamphun heifers recorded significantly better physiologic parameters (p < 0.05) in all traits considered, including or particularly HTC than Holstein Friesian heifers. The association analysis revealed that the T allele at SNP g.4338T>C within intron 3 improved the heat tolerance (p < 0.05). Allele T was exclusively found in White Lamphun animals and to 84% in Mountain cattle. Holstein Friesian heifers revealed an allele frequency of only 18%. Polymorphisms within HSP90AB1 were not causative for the physiological responses; however, we propose that they should at least be used as genetic markers to select appropriate breeds for hot climates.
PMCID: PMC3289787  PMID: 22008953
Heat stress; HSP90AB1; Polymorphisms; Indigenous cattle; Thailand
9.  PrPSc spreading patterns in the brain of sheep linked to different prion types 
Veterinary Research  2011;42(1):32.
Scrapie in sheep and goats has been known for more than 250 years and belongs nowadays to the so-called prion diseases that also include e.g. bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle (BSE) and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. According to the prion hypothesis, the pathological isoform (PrPSc) of the cellular prion protein (PrPc) comprises the essential, if not exclusive, component of the transmissible agent. Currently, two types of scrapie disease are known - classical and atypical/Nor98 scrapie. In the present study we examine 24 cases of classical and 25 cases of atypical/Nor98 scrapie with the sensitive PET blot method and validate the results with conventional immunohistochemistry. The sequential detection of PrPSc aggregates in the CNS of classical scrapie sheep implies that after neuroinvasion a spread from spinal cord and obex to the cerebellum, diencephalon and frontal cortex via the rostral brainstem takes place. We categorize the spread of PrPSc into four stages: the CNS entry stage, the brainstem stage, the cruciate sulcus stage and finally the basal ganglia stage. Such a sequential development of PrPSc was not detectable upon analysis of the present atypical/Nor98 scrapie cases. PrPSc distribution in one case of atypical/Nor98 scrapie in a presumably early disease phase suggests that the spread of PrPSc aggregates starts in the di- or telencephalon. In addition to the spontaneous generation of PrPSc, an uptake of the infectious agent into the brain, that bypasses the brainstem and starts its accumulation in the thalamus, needs to be taken into consideration for atypical/Nor98 scrapie.
PMCID: PMC3050706  PMID: 21324114
10.  Cloning, mapping and molecular characterization of porcine progesterone receptor membrane component 2 (PGRMC2) gene 
Genetics and Molecular Biology  2010;33(3):471-474.
Progesterone plays an important role in sow reproduction by stimulating classic genomic pathways via nuclear receptors and non-genomic pathways via membrane receptors such a progesterone receptor membrane component 2 (PGRMC2). In this work, we used radiation hybrid mapping to assign PGRMC2 to pig chromosome 8 and observed that this receptor has two transcripts in pigs. The full-length cDNA of the large transcript is 1858 bp long and contains a 669-bp open reading frame (ORF) encoding a protein of 223 amino acids. The shorter transcript encodes a protein of 170 amino acids. The porcine PGRMC2 gene consists of three exons 446 bp, 156 bp and 1259 bp in length. The promoter sequence is GC-rich and lacks a typical TATA box. Several putative cis-regulatory DNA motifs were identified in the 208-bp upstream genomic region. Five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were detected in introns* and the 3' UTR. RT-PCR indicated that the PGRMC2 gene is expressed ubiquitously in all pig tissues examined.
PMCID: PMC3036127  PMID: 21637418
expression profile; molecular characterization; physical mapping
11.  Genome-wide QTL mapping for three traits related to teat number in a White Duroc × Erhualian pig resource population 
BMC Genetics  2009;10:6.
Teat number is an important fertility trait for pig production, reflecting the mothering ability of sows. It is also a discrete and often canalized trait presenting bilateral symmetry with minor differences between the two sides, providing a potential power to evaluate fluctuating asymmetry and developmental instability. The knowledge of its genetic control is still limited. In this study, a genome-wide scan was performed with 183 microsatellites covering the pig genome to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) for three traits related to teat number including the total teat number (TTN), the teat number at the left (LTN) and right (RTN) sides in a large scale White Duroc × Erhualian resource population.
A sex-average linkage map with a total length of 2350.3 cM and an average marker interval of 12.84 cM was constructed. Eleven genome-wide significant QTL for TTN were detected on 8 autosomes including pig chromosomes (SSC) 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 12. Six suggestive QTL for this trait were detected on SSC6, 9, 13, 14 and 16. Eight chromosomal regions each on SSC1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 12 showed significant associations with LTN. These regions were also evidenced as significant QTL for RTN except for those on SSC6 and SSC8. The most significant QTL for the 3 traits were all located on SSC7. Erhualian alleles at most of the identified QTL had positive additive effects except for three QTL on SSC1 and SSC7, at which White Duroc alleles increased teat numbers. On SSC1, 6, 9, 13 and 16, significant dominance effects were observed on TTN, and predominant imprinting effect on TTN was only detected on SSC12.
The results not only confirmed the QTL regions from previous experiments, but also identified five new QTL for the total teat number in swine. Minor differences between the QTL regions responsible for LTN and RTN were validated. Further fine mapping should be focused on consistently identified regions with small confidence intervals, such as those on SSC1, SSC7 and SSC12.
PMCID: PMC2672953  PMID: 19226448
12.  Disease-specific motifs can be identified in circulating nucleic acids from live elk and cattle infected with transmissible spongiform encephalopathies 
Nucleic Acids Research  2008;37(2):550-556.
To gain insight into the disease progression of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE), we searched for disease-specific patterns in circulating nucleic acids (CNA) in elk and cattle. In a 25-month time-course experiment, CNAs were isolated from blood samples of 24 elk (Cervus elaphus) orally challenged with chronic wasting disease (CWD) infectious material. In a separate experiment, blood-sample CNAs from 29 experimental cattle (Bos taurus) 40 months post-inoculation with clinical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) were analyzed according to the same protocol. Next-generation sequencing provided broad elucidation of sample CNAs: we detected infection-specific sequences as early as 11 months in elk (i.e. at least 3 months before the appearance of the first clinical signs) and we established CNA patterns related to BSE in cattle at least 4 months prior to clinical signs. In elk, a progression of CNA sequence patterns was found to precede and correlate with macro-observable disease progression, including delayed CWD progression in elk with PrP genotype LM. Some of the patterns identified contain transcription-factor-binding sites linked to endogenous retroviral integration. These patterns suggest that retroviruses may be connected to the manifestation of TSEs. Our results may become useful for the early diagnosis of TSE in live elk and cattle.
PMCID: PMC2632913  PMID: 19059996
13.  A genome-wide scan for quantitative trait loci affecting limb bone lengths and areal bone mineral density of the distal femur in a White Duroc × Erhualian F2 population 
BMC Genetics  2008;9:63.
Limb bone lengths and bone mineral density (BMD) have been used to assess the bone growth and the risk of bone fractures in pigs, respectively. It has been suggested that limb bone lengths and BMD are under genetic control. However, the knowledge about the genetic basis of the limb bone lengths and mineralisatinon is limited in pigs. The aim of this study was to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting limb bone lengths and BMD of the distal femur in a White Duroc × Erhualian resource population.
Limb bone lengths and femoral bone mineral density (fBMD) were measured in a total of 1021 and 116 F2 animals, respectively. There were strong positive correlations among the lengths of limb bones and medium positive correlations between the lengths of limb bones and fBMD. A whole-genome scan involving 183 microsatellite markers across the pig genome revealed 35 QTL for the limb bone lengths and 2 for femoral BMD. The most significant QTL for the lengths of five limb bones were mapped on two chromosomes affecting all 5 limb bones traits. One was detected around 57 cM on pig chromosome (SSC) 7 with the largest F-value of more than 26 and 95% confidence intervals of less than 5 cM, providing a crucial start point to identify the causal genes for these traits. The Erhualian alleles were associated with longer limb bones. The other was located on SSCX with a peak at 50–53 cM, whereas alleles from the White Duroc breed increased the bone length. Many QTL identified are homologous to the human genomic regions containing QTL for bone-related traits and a list of interesting candidate genes.
This study detected the QTL for the lengths of scapula, ulna, humerus and tibia and fBMD in the pig for the first time. Moreover, several new QTL for the pig femoral length were found. As correlated traits, QTL for the lengths of five limb bones were mainly located in the same genomic regions. The most promising QTL for the lengths of five limb bones on SSC7 merits further investigation.
PMCID: PMC2613148  PMID: 18840302
14.  Accumulation of Pathological Prion Protein PrPSc in the Skin of Animals with Experimental and Natural Scrapie 
PLoS Pathogens  2007;3(5):e66.
Prion infectivity and its molecular marker, the pathological prion protein PrPSc, accumulate in the central nervous system and often also in lymphoid tissue of animals or humans affected by transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Recently, PrPSc was found in tissues previously considered not to be invaded by prions (e.g., skeletal muscles). Here, we address the question of whether prions target the skin and show widespread PrPSc deposition in this organ in hamsters perorally or parenterally challenged with scrapie. In hamsters fed with scrapie, PrPSc was detected before the onset of symptoms, but the bulk of skin-associated PrPSc accumulated in the clinical phase. PrPSc was localized in nerve fibres within the skin but not in keratinocytes, and the deposition of PrPSc in skin showed no dependence from the route of infection and lymphotropic dissemination. The data indicated a neurally mediated centrifugal spread of prions to the skin. Furthermore, in a follow-up study, we examined sheep naturally infected with scrapie and detected PrPSc by Western blotting in skin samples from two out of five animals. Our findings point to the skin as a potential reservoir of prions, which should be further investigated in relation to disease transmission.
Author Summary
Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), or prion diseases, are fatal neurodegenerative diseases affecting the central nervous system. According to the prion hypothesis, TSEs are caused by proteinaceous infectious particles (“prions”) that consist essentially of PrPSc, an aberrant form of the prion protein with a pathologically altered folding and/or aggregation structure. Scrapie of sheep, chronic wasting disease (CWD) of deer, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) of cattle, and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) of humans are prominent examples of acquired prion diseases. To further pinpoint the peripheral tissues that could serve as reservoirs of prions in the mammalian body and from which these pathogens could be potentially disseminated into the environment and transmitted to other individuals, we examined the skin of hamsters perorally challenged with scrapie and of naturally infected scrapie sheep for the presence of PrPSc. We show that PrPSc can accumulate in the skin at late stages of incubation, and that the protein is located primarily in small nerve fibres within this organ. The question of whether the skin may also provide a reservoir for prions in CWD, BSE, or vCJD, and the role of the skin in relation to the natural transmission of scrapie in the field needs further investigation.
PMCID: PMC1876502  PMID: 17530923
15.  Molecular characterization and exclusion of porcine GUSB as a candidate gene for congenital hernia inguinalis/scrotalis 
Inguinal hernias are usually caused by a congenital defect, which occurs as a weakness of the inguinal canal. Porcine β-glucuronidase gene (GUSB) was chosen as functional candidate gene because of its involvement in degradation of hyaluronan within gubernacular tissue during descent of testes. Since a genome-wide linkage analysis approach has shown evidence that two regions on porcine chromosome 3 (SSC 3) are involved in the inheritance of hernia inguinalis/scrotalis in German pig breeds, GUSB also attained status as a positional candidate gene by its localization within a hernia-associated chromosomal region.
A contig spanning 17,157 bp, which contains the entire GUSB, was assembled. Comparative sequence analyses were conducted for the GUSB gene locus. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located within the coding region of GUSB were genotyped in 512 animals. Results of transmission disequilibrium test (TDT) for two out of a total of five detected SNPs gave no significant association with the outcome of hernia in pigs.
On the basis of our studies we are able to exclude the two analyzed SNPs within the porcine GUSB gene as causative for the transmission of inguinal hernia.
PMCID: PMC1471780  PMID: 16646965
16.  Targeted oligonucleotide-mediated microsatellite identification (TOMMI) from large-insert library clones 
BMC Genetics  2005;6:54.
In the last few years, microsatellites have become the most popular molecular marker system and have intensively been applied in genome mapping, biodiversity and phylogeny studies of livestock. Compared to single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) as another popular marker system, microsatellites reveal obvious advantages. They are multi-allelic, possibly more polymorphic and cheaper to genotype. Calculations showed that a multi-allelic marker system always has more power to detect Linkage Disequilibrium (LD) than does a di-allelic marker system [1]. Traditional isolation methods using partial genomic libraries are time-consuming and cost-intensive. In order to directly generate microsatellites from large-insert libraries a sequencing approach with repeat-containing oligonucleotides is introduced.
Seventeen porcine microsatellite markers were isolated from eleven PAC clones by targeted oligonucleotide-mediated microsatellite identification (TOMMI), an improved efficient and rapid flanking sequence-based approach for the isolation of STS-markers. With the application of TOMMI, an average of 1.55 (CA/GT) microsatellites per PAC clone was identified. The number of alleles, allele size distribution, polymorphism information content (PIC), average heterozygosity (HT), and effective allele number (NE) for the STS-markers were calculated using a sampling of 336 unrelated animals representing fifteen pig breeds (nine European and six Chinese breeds). Sixteen of the microsatellite markers proved to be polymorphic (2 to 22 alleles) in this heterogeneous sampling. Most of the publicly available (porcine) microsatellite amplicons range from approximately 80 bp to 200 bp. Here, we attempted to utilize as much sequence information as possible to develop STS-markers with larger amplicons. Indeed, fourteen of the seventeen STS-marker amplicons have minimal allele sizes of at least 200 bp. Thus, most of the generated STS-markers can easily be integrated into multilocus assays covering a broader separation spectrum. Linkage mapping results of the markers indicate their potential immediate use in QTL studies to further dissect trait associated chromosomal regions.
The sequencing strategy described in this study provides a targeted, inexpensive and fast method to develop microsatellites from large-insert libraries. It is well suited to generate polymorphic markers for selected chromosomal regions, contigs of overlapping clones and yields sufficient high quality sequence data to develop amplicons greater than 250 bases.
PMCID: PMC1315340  PMID: 16287508
17.  Bov-tA Short Interspersed Nucleotide Element Sequences in Circulating Nucleic Acids from Sera of Cattle with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and Sera of Cattle Exposed to BSE 
Circulating nucleic acids (CNA) are known to be enriched in repetitive DNA sequences in humans. Here, bovine sera CNA were analyzed to determine if cell stress-related short interspersed nucleotide elements (SINEs) could be detected in sera from cattle associated with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Nucleic acids were extracted, amplified, cloned, and sequenced from the sera of protease-resistant prion protein (PrPres)-positive cattle (n = 2) and sera from BSE-cohort cows (n = 6); 150 out of 163 clones revealed the presence of, on average, an 80-bp sequence from the 3′ region of Bov-tA SINE. A PCR protocol was developed that differentially identified SINE-associated CNA in BSE-exposed versus normal cattle. CNA were extracted from a serum vesicular fraction after controlled blood collection and processing procedures. Sera from four confirmed cases of BSE, 137 BSE-exposed cohort animals associated with eight confirmed BSE cases, and 845 healthy, PrPres-negative control cows were tested. All four sera from confirmed BSE cases were repeatedly reactive in the assay. BSE-exposed cohorts had a 100-fold higher occurrence of repeatedly reactive individuals per cohort (average = 63%; range = 33% to 91%), compared to healthy controls (average = 0.6%; P < 0.001). This study shows that BSE-confirmed and cohort animals possess a unique profile of SINE-associated serum CNA that can be utilized as a marker that highly correlates to BSE exposure.
PMCID: PMC1182203  PMID: 16002628
18.  Diagnostic polymorphisms in the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene allow discrimination between cattle, sheep, goat, roe buck and deer by PCR-RFLP 
BMC Genetics  2004;5:30.
As an alternative to direct DNA sequencing of PCR products, random PCR-RFLP is an efficient technique to discriminate between species. The PCR-RFLP-method is an inexpensive tool in forensic science, even if the template is degraded or contains only traces of DNA from various species.
Interspecies-specific DNA sequence polymorphisms in the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene were analyzed using PCR-RFLP technology to determine the source (i.e., species) of blood traces obtained from a leaf.
The method presented can be used for the discrimination of cattle (Bos taurus), sheep (Ovis aries), goat (Capra hircus), roe buck (Capreolus capreolus) and red deer (Cervus elaphus).
PMCID: PMC524170  PMID: 15462674
19.  Combined analysis of data from two granddaughter designs: A simple strategy for QTL confirmation and increasing experimental power in dairy cattle 
A joint analysis of five paternal half-sib Holstein families that were part of two different granddaughter designs (ADR- or Inra-design) was carried out for five milk production traits and somatic cell score in order to conduct a QTL confirmation study and to increase the experimental power. Data were exchanged in a coded and standardised form. The combined data set (JOINT-design) consisted of on average 231 sires per grandsire. Genetic maps were calculated for 133 markers distributed over nine chromosomes. QTL analyses were performed separately for each design and each trait. The results revealed QTL for milk production on chromosome 14, for milk yield on chromosome 5, and for fat content on chromosome 19 in both the ADR- and the Inra-design (confirmed within this study). Some QTL could only be mapped in either the ADR- or in the Inra-design (not confirmed within this study). Additional QTL previously undetected in the single designs were mapped in the JOINT-design for fat yield (chromosome 19 and 26), protein yield (chromosome 26), protein content (chromosome 5), and somatic cell score (chromosome 2 and 19) with genomewide significance. This study demonstrated the potential benefits of a combined analysis of data from different granddaughter designs.
PMCID: PMC2732702  PMID: 12729552
QTL mapping; granddaughter design; combined analysis; QTL confirmation; dairy cattle
20.  A high resolution physical and RH map of pig chromosome 6q1.2 and comparative analysis with human chromosome 19q13.1 
BMC Genomics  2003;4:20.
The generation of BAC/PAC contigs in targeted genome regions is a powerful method to establish high-resolution physical maps. In domestic animal species the generation of such contigs is typically initiated with the screening of libraries with probes derived from human genes that are expected to be located in the region of interest by comparative mapping. However, in many instances the available gene-derived probes are too far apart to allow the cloning of BAC/PAC contigs larger than a few hundred kb. High resolution physical mapping allows to estimate the sizes of gaps and to control the orientation of the individual sub-contigs, which helps to avoid errors during the assembly of smaller contigs into final Mb-sized contigs. The recently constructed porcine IMNpRH2 panel allowed us to use this approach for the construction of high-resolution physical maps of SSC 6q1.2.
Two sequence-ready BAC/PAC contigs of the gene-rich region on porcine chromosome 6q1.2 (SSC 6q1.2) containing the RYRl gene were constructed. The two contigs spanned about 1.2 Mb and 2.0 Mb respectively. The construction of these contigs was monitored by the results provided by the mapping of 15 markers on the IMpRH7000rad and 35 markers on the IMNpRH212000rad radiation hybrid panels. Analyses on the IMpRH panel allowed us to globally link and orientate preliminary smaller contigs, whereas analyses on the high resolution IMNpRH2 panel allowed us to finally identify the order of genes and markers.
A framework map of 523 cR12000 was established covering the whole studied region. The order of markers on the framework 1000:1 RH map was found totally consistent with the data deduced from the contig map. The kb/cR ratio was very constant in the whole region, with an average value of 6.6 kb/cR. We estimate that the size of the remaining gap between the two contigs is of about 300 kb. The integrated physical and RH map of the investigated region on SSC 6q1.2 was used for a comparative analysis with respect to the syntenic regions on HSA 19q13.1 and MMU 7 and revealed a perfectly conserved gene order across the entire studied interval.
PMCID: PMC161799  PMID: 12744726

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