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1.  A medium density genetic map and QTL for behavioral and production traits in Japanese quail 
BMC Genomics  2015;16(1):10.
Behavioral traits such as sociability, emotional reactivity and aggressiveness are major factors in animal adaptation to breeding conditions. In order to investigate the genetic control of these traits as well as their relationships with production traits, a study was undertaken on a large second generation cross (F2) between two lines of Japanese Quail divergently selected on their social reinstatement behavior. All the birds were measured for several social behaviors (social reinstatement, response to social isolation, sexual motivation, aggression), behaviors measuring the emotional reactivity of the birds (reaction to an unknown object, tonic immobility reaction), and production traits (body weight and egg production).
We report the results of the first genome-wide QTL detection based on a medium density SNP panel obtained from whole genome sequencing of a pool of individuals from each divergent line. A genetic map was constructed using 2145 markers among which 1479 could be positioned on 28 different linkage groups. The sex-averaged linkage map spanned a total of 3057 cM with an average marker spacing of 2.1 cM. With the exception of a few regions, the marker order was the same in Japanese Quail and the chicken, which confirmed a well conserved synteny between the two species. The linkage analyses performed using QTLMAP software revealed a total of 45 QTLs related either to behavioral (23) or production (22) traits. The most numerous QTLs (15) concerned social motivation traits. Interestingly, our results pinpointed putative pleiotropic regions which controlled emotional reactivity and body-weight of birds (on CJA5 and CJA8) or their social motivation and the onset of egg laying (on CJA19).
This study identified several QTL regions for social and emotional behaviors in the Quail. Further research will be needed to refine the QTL and confirm or refute the role of candidate genes, which were suggested by bioinformatics analysis. It can be hoped that the identification of genes and polymorphisms related to behavioral traits in the quail will have further applications for other poultry species (especially the chicken) and will contribute to solving animal welfare issues in poultry production.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-014-1210-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4307178  PMID: 25609057
2.  Fine mapping of complex traits in non-model species: using next generation sequencing and advanced intercross lines in Japanese quail 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:551.
As for other non-model species, genetic analyses in quail will benefit greatly from a higher marker density, now attainable thanks to the evolution of sequencing and genotyping technologies. Our objective was to obtain the first genome wide panel of Japanese quail SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) and to use it for the fine mapping of a QTL for a fear-related behaviour, namely tonic immobility, previously localized on Coturnix japonica chromosome 1. To this aim, two reduced representations of the genome were analysed through high-throughput 454 sequencing: AFLP (Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism) fragments as representatives of genomic DNA, and EST (Expressed Sequence Tag) as representatives of the transcriptome.
The sequencing runs produced 399,189 and 1,106,762 sequence reads from cDNA and genomic fragments, respectively. They covered over 434 Mb of sequence in total and allowed us to detect 17,433 putative SNP. Among them, 384 were used to genotype two Advanced Intercross Lines (AIL) obtained from three quail lines differing for duration of tonic immobility. Despite the absence of genotyping for founder individuals in the analysis, the previously identified candidate region on chromosome 1 was refined and led to the identification of a candidate gene.
These data confirm the efficiency of transcript and AFLP-sequencing for SNP discovery in a non-model species, and its application to the fine mapping of a complex trait. Our results reveal a significant association of duration of tonic immobility with a genomic region comprising the DMD (dystrophin) gene. Further characterization of this candidate gene is needed to decipher its putative role in tonic immobility in Coturnix.
PMCID: PMC3534603  PMID: 23066875
Quail; Tonic immobility; Sequencing; AFLP; Transcripts; SNP; AIL
3.  A duck RH panel and its potential for assisting NGS genome assembly 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:513.
Owing to the low cost of the high throughput Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology, more and more species have been and will be sequenced. However, de novo assemblies of large eukaryotic genomes thus produced are composed of a large number of contigs and scaffolds of medium to small size, having no chromosomal assignment. Radiation hybrid (RH) mapping is a powerful tool for building whole genome maps and has been used for several animal species, to help assign sequence scaffolds to chromosomes and determining their order.
We report here a duck whole genome RH panel obtained by fusing female duck embryonic fibroblasts irradiated at a dose of 6,000 rads, with HPRT-deficient Wg3hCl2 hamster cells. The ninety best hybrids, having an average retention of 23.6% of the duck genome, were selected for the final panel. To allow the genotyping of large numbers of markers, as required for whole genome mapping, without having to cultivate the hybrid clones on a large scale, three different methods involving Whole Genome Amplification (WGA) and/or scaling down PCR volumes by using the Fluidigm BioMarkTM Integrated Fluidic Circuits (IFC) Dynamic ArrayTM for genotyping were tested. RH maps of APL12 and APL22 were built, allowing the detection of intrachromosomal rearrangements when compared to chicken. Finally, the panel proved useful for checking the assembly of sequence scaffolds and for mapping EST located on one of the smallest microchromosomes.
The Fluidigm BioMarkTM Integrated Fluidic Circuits (IFC) Dynamic ArrayTM genotyping by quantitative PCR provides a rapid and cost-effective method for building RH linkage groups. Although the vast majority of genotyped markers exhibited a picture coherent with their associated scaffolds, a few of them were discordant, pinpointing potential assembly errors. Comparative mapping with chicken chromosomes GGA21 and GGA11 allowed the detection of the first chromosome rearrangements on microchromosomes between duck and chicken. As in chicken, the smallest duck microchromosomes appear missing in the assembly and more EST data will be needed for mapping them. Altogether, this underlines the added value of RH mapping to improve genome assemblies.
PMCID: PMC3496577  PMID: 23020625
RH mapping; NGS; Sequencing; Duck; Scaffold; Assembly
4.  Genome wide SNP discovery, analysis and evaluation in mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 
BMC Genomics  2011;12:150.
Next generation sequencing technologies allow to obtain at low cost the genomic sequence information that currently lacks for most economically and ecologically important organisms. For the mallard duck genomic data is limited. The mallard is, besides a species of large agricultural and societal importance, also the focal species when it comes to long distance dispersal of Avian Influenza. For large scale identification of SNPs we performed Illumina sequencing of wild mallard DNA and compared our data with ongoing genome and EST sequencing of domesticated conspecifics. This is the first study of its kind for waterfowl.
More than one billion base pairs of sequence information were generated resulting in a 16× coverage of a reduced representation library of the mallard genome. Sequence reads were aligned to a draft domesticated duck reference genome and allowed for the detection of over 122,000 SNPs within our mallard sequence dataset. In addition, almost 62,000 nucleotide positions on the domesticated duck reference showed a different nucleotide compared to wild mallard. Approximately 20,000 SNPs identified within our data were shared with SNPs identified in the sequenced domestic duck or in EST sequencing projects. The shared SNPs were considered to be highly reliable and were used to benchmark non-shared SNPs for quality. Genotyping of a representative sample of 364 SNPs resulted in a SNP conversion rate of 99.7%. The correlation of the minor allele count and observed minor allele frequency in the SNP discovery pool was 0.72.
We identified almost 150,000 SNPs in wild mallards that will likely yield good results in genotyping. Of these, ~101,000 SNPs were detected within our wild mallard sequences and ~49,000 were detected between wild and domesticated duck data. In the ~101,000 SNPs we found a subset of ~20,000 SNPs shared between wild mallards and the sequenced domesticated duck suggesting a low genetic divergence. Comparison of quality metrics between the total SNP set (122,000 + 62,000 = 184,000 SNPs) and the validated subset shows similar characteristics for both sets. This indicates that we have detected a large amount (~150,000) of accurately inferred mallard SNPs, which will benefit bird evolutionary studies, ecological studies (e.g. disentangling migratory connectivity) and industrial breeding programs.
PMCID: PMC3065436  PMID: 21410945
5.  Integrative mapping analysis of chicken microchromosome 16 organization 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:616.
The chicken karyotype is composed of 39 chromosome pairs, of which 9 still remain totally absent from the current genome sequence assembly, despite international efforts towards complete coverage. Some others are only very partially sequenced, amongst which microchromosome 16 (GGA16), particularly under-represented, with only 433 kb assembled for a full estimated size of 9 to 11 Mb. Besides the obvious need of full genome coverage with genetic markers for QTL (Quantitative Trait Loci) mapping and major genes identification studies, there is a major interest in the detailed study of this chromosome because it carries the two genetically independent MHC complexes B and Y. In addition, GGA16 carries the ribosomal RNA (rRNA) genes cluster, also known as the NOR (nucleolus organizer region). The purpose of the present study is to construct and present high resolution integrated maps of GGA16 to refine its organization and improve its coverage with genetic markers.
We developed 79 STS (Sequence Tagged Site) markers to build a physical RH (radiation hybrid) map and 34 genetic markers to extend the genetic map of GGA16. We screened a BAC (Bacterial Artificial Chromosome) library with markers for the MHC-B, MHC-Y and rRNA complexes. Selected clones were used to perform high resolution FISH (Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization) mapping on giant meiotic lampbrush chromosomes, allowing meiotic mapping in addition to the confirmation of the order of the three clusters along the chromosome. A region with high recombination rates and containing PO41 repeated elements separates the two MHC complexes.
The three complementary mapping strategies used refine greatly our knowledge of chicken microchromosome 16 organisation. The characterisation of the recombination hotspots separating the two MHC complexes demonstrates the presence of PO41 repetitive sequences both in tandem and inverted orientation. However, this region still needs to be studied in more detail.
PMCID: PMC3091757  PMID: 21050458
6.  Mapping main, epistatic and sex-specific QTL for body composition in a chicken population divergently selected for low or high growth rate 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:107.
Delineating the genetic basis of body composition is important to agriculture and medicine. In addition, the incorporation of gene-gene interactions in the statistical model provides further insight into the genetic factors that underlie body composition traits. We used Bayesian model selection to comprehensively map main, epistatic and sex-specific QTL in an F2 reciprocal intercross between two chicken lines divergently selected for high or low growth rate.
We identified 17 QTL with main effects across 13 chromosomes and several sex-specific and sex-antagonistic QTL for breast meat yield, thigh + drumstick yield and abdominal fatness. Different sets of QTL were found for both breast muscles [Pectoralis (P) major and P. minor], which suggests that they could be controlled by different regulatory mechanisms. Significant interactions of QTL by sex allowed detection of sex-specific and sex-antagonistic QTL for body composition and abdominal fat. We found several female-specific P. major QTL and sex-antagonistic P. minor and abdominal fatness QTL. Also, several QTL on different chromosomes interact with each other to affect body composition and abdominal fatness.
The detection of main effects, epistasis and sex-dimorphic QTL suggest complex genetic regulation of somatic growth. An understanding of such regulatory mechanisms is key to mapping specific genes that underlie QTL controlling somatic growth in an avian model.
PMCID: PMC2830984  PMID: 20149241
7.  Whole genome comparative studies between chicken and turkey and their implications for avian genome evolution 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:168.
Comparative genomics is a powerful means of establishing inter-specific relationships between gene function/location and allows insight into genomic rearrangements, conservation and evolutionary phylogeny. The availability of the complete sequence of the chicken genome has initiated the development of detailed genomic information in other birds including turkey, an agriculturally important species where mapping has hitherto focused on linkage with limited physical information. No molecular study has yet examined conservation of avian microchromosomes, nor differences in copy number variants (CNVs) between birds.
We present a detailed comparative cytogenetic map between chicken and turkey based on reciprocal chromosome painting and mapping of 338 chicken BACs to turkey metaphases. Two inter-chromosomal changes (both involving centromeres) and three pericentric inversions have been identified between chicken and turkey; and array CGH identified 16 inter-specific CNVs.
This is the first study to combine the modalities of zoo-FISH and array CGH between different avian species. The first insight into the conservation of microchromosomes, the first comparative cytogenetic map of any bird and the first appraisal of CNVs between birds is provided. Results suggest that avian genomes have remained relatively stable during evolution compared to mammalian equivalents.
PMCID: PMC2375447  PMID: 18410676
8.  Addition of the microchromosome GGA25 to the chicken genome sequence assembly through radiation hybrid and genetic mapping 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:129.
The publication of the first draft chicken sequence assembly became available in 2004 and was updated in 2006. However, this does not constitute a definitive and complete sequence of the chicken genome, since the microchromosomes are notably under-represented. In an effort to develop maps for the microchromosomes absent from the chicken genome assembly, we developed radiation hybrid (RH) and genetic maps with markers isolated from sequence currently assigned to "chromosome Unknown" (chrUn). The chrUn is composed of sequence contigs not assigned to named chromosomes. To identify and map sequence belonging to the microchromosomes we used a comparative mapping strategy, and we focused on the small linkage group E26C13.
In total, 139 markers were analysed with the chickRH6 panel, of which 120 were effectively assigned to the E26C13 linkage group, the remainder mapping elsewhere in the genome. The final RH map is composed of 22 framework markers extending over a 245.6 cR distance. A corresponding genetic map was developed, whose length is 103 cM in the East Lansing reference population. The E26C13 group was assigned to GGA25 (Gallus gallus chromosome 25) by FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridisation) mapping.
The high-resolution RH framework map obtained here covers the entire chicken chromosome 25 and reveals the existence of a high number of intrachromosomal rearrangements when compared to the human genome. The strategy used here for the characterization of GGA25 could be used to improve knowledge on the other uncharacterized small, yet gene-rich microchromosomes.
PMCID: PMC2275740  PMID: 18366813
9.  Identification of QTL controlling meat quality traits in an F2 cross between two chicken lines selected for either low or high growth rate 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:155.
Meat technological traits (i.e. meat pH, water retention and color) are important considerations for improving further processing of chicken meat. These quality traits were originally characterized in experimental lines selected for high (HG) and low (LG) growth. Presently, quantitative trait loci (QTL) for these traits were analyzed in an F2 population issued from the HG × LG cross. A total of 698 animals in 50 full-sib families were genotyped for 108 microsatellite markers covering 21 linkage groups.
The HG and LG birds exhibit large differences in body weight and abdominal fat content. Several meat quality traits [pH at 15 min post-slaughter (pH15) and ultimate pH (pHu), breast color-redness (BCo-R) and breast color-yellowness (BCo-Y)] were lower in HG chickens. In contrast, meat color-lightness (BCo-L) was higher in HG chickens, whereas meat drip loss (DL) was similar in both lines. HG birds were more active on the shackle line. Association analyses were performed using maximum-likelihood interval mapping in QTLMAP. Five genome-wide significant QTLs were revealed: two for pH15 on GGA1 and GGA2, one for DL on GGA1, one for BCo-R and one for BCo-Y both on GGA11. In addition, four suggestive QTLs were identified by QTLMAP for BCo-Y, pHu, pH15 and DL on GGA1, GGA4, GGA12 and GGA14, respectively. The QTL effects, averaged on heterozygous families, ranged from 12 to 31% of the phenotypic variance. Further analyses with QTLExpress confirmed the two genome-wide QTLs for meat color on GGA11, failed to identify the genome-wide QTL for pH15 on GGA2, and revealed only suggestive QTLs for pH15 and DL on GGA1. However, QTLExpress qualified the QTL for pHu on GGA4 as genome-wide.
The present study identified genome-wide significant QTLs for all meat technological traits presently assessed in these chickens, except for meat lightness. This study highlights the effects of divergent selection for growth rate on some behavioral traits, muscle biochemistry and ultimately meat quality traits. Several QTL regions were identified that are worthy of further characterization. Some QTLs may in fact co-localize, suggesting pleiotropic effects for some chromosomal regions.
PMCID: PMC1899504  PMID: 17559654
10.  Integrated maps in quail (Coturnix japonica) confirm the high degree of synteny conservation with chicken (Gallus gallus) despite 35 million years of divergence 
BMC Genomics  2006;7:101.
By comparing the quail genome with that of chicken, chromosome rearrangements that have occurred in these two galliform species over 35 million years of evolution can be detected. From a more practical point of view, the definition of conserved syntenies helps to predict the position of genes in quail, based on information taken from the chicken sequence, thus enhancing the utility of this species in biological studies through a better knowledge of its genome structure. A microsatellite and an Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) genetic map were previously published for quail, as well as comparative cytogenetic data with chicken for macrochromosomes. Quail genomics will benefit from the extension and the integration of these maps.
The integrated linkage map presented here is based on segregation analysis of both anonymous markers and functional gene loci in 1,050 quail from three independent F2 populations. Ninety-two loci are resolved into 14 autosomal linkage groups and a Z chromosome-specific linkage group, aligned with the quail AFLP map. The size of linkage groups ranges from 7.8 cM to 274.8 cM. The total map distance covers 904.3 cM with an average spacing of 9.7 cM between loci. The coverage is not complete, as macrochromosome CJA08, the gonosome CJAW and 23 microchromosomes have no marker assigned yet. Significant sequence identities of quail markers with chicken enabled the alignment of the quail linkage groups on the chicken genome sequence assembly. This, together with interspecific Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (FISH), revealed very high similarities in marker order between the two species for the eight macrochromosomes and the 14 microchromosomes studied.
Integrating the two microsatellite and the AFLP quail genetic maps greatly enhances the quality of the resulting information and will thus facilitate the identification of Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL). The alignment with the chicken chromosomes confirms the high conservation of gene order that was expected between the two species for macrochromosomes. By extending the comparative study to the microchromosomes, we suggest that a wealth of information can be mined in chicken, to be used for genome analyses in quail.
PMCID: PMC1534036  PMID: 16669996
11.  Microsatellite mapping of QTL affecting growth, feed consumption, egg production, tonic immobility and body temperature of Japanese quail 
BMC Genomics  2005;6:87.
The Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) is both an animal model in biology and a commercial bird for egg and meat production. Modern research developments with this bird, however, have been slowed down by the limited information that is available on the genetics of the Japanese quail. Recently, quail genetic maps with microsatellites and AFLP have been produced which open the way to comparative works with the chicken (Gallus gallus), and to QTL detection for a variety of traits. The purpose of this work was to detect for the first time QTL for commercial traits and for more basic characters in an F2 experiment with 434 female quail, and to compare the nature and the position of the detected QTL with those from the first chicken genome scans carried out during the last few years.
Genome-wide significant or suggestive QTL were found for clutch length, body weight and feed intake on CJA01, age at first egg and egg number on CJA06, and eggshell weight and residual feed intake on CJA20, with possible pleiotropy for the QTL affecting body weight and feed intake, and egg number and age at first egg. A suggestive QTL was found for tonic immobility on CJA01, and chromosome-wide significant QTL for body temperature were detected on CJA01 and CJA03. Other chromosome-wide significant QTL were found on CJA02, CJA05, CJA09 and CJA14. Parent-of-origin effects were found for QTL for body weight and feed intake on CJA01.
Despite its limited length, the first quail microsatellite map was useful to detect new QTL for rarely reported traits, like residual feed intake, and to help establish some correspondence between the QTL for feed intake, body weight and tonic immobility detected in the present work and those reported on GGA01 in the chicken. Further comparative work is now possible in order to better estimate and understand the genetic similarities and differences of these two Phasianidae species.
PMCID: PMC1180434  PMID: 15941487
12.  Construction of a radiation hybrid map of chicken chromosome 2 and alignment to the chicken draft sequence 
BMC Genomics  2005;6:12.
The ChickRH6 whole chicken genome radiation hybrid (RH) panel recently produced has already been used to build radiation hybrid maps for several chromosomes, generating comparative maps with the human and mouse genomes and suggesting improvements to the chicken draft sequence assembly. Here we present the construction of a RH map of chicken chromosome 2. Markers from the genetic map were used for alignment to the existing GGA2 (Gallus gallus chromosome 2) linkage group and EST were used to provide valuable comparative mapping information. Finally, all markers from the RH map were localised on the chicken draft sequence assembly to check for eventual discordances.
Eighty eight microsatellite markers, 10 genes and 219 EST were selected from the genetic map or on the basis of available comparative mapping information. Out of these 317 markers, 270 gave reliable amplifications on the radiation hybrid panel and 198 were effectively assigned to GGA2. The final RH map is 2794 cR6000 long and is composed of 86 framework markers distributed in 5 groups. Conservation of synteny was found between GGA2 and eight human chromosomes, with segments of conserved gene order of varying lengths.
We obtained a radiation hybrid map of chicken chromosome 2. Comparison to the human genome indicated that most of the 8 groups of conserved synteny studied underwent internal rearrangements. The alignment of our RH map to the first draft of the chicken genome sequence assembly revealed a good agreement between both sets of data, indicative of a low error rate.
PMCID: PMC548691  PMID: 15693999
13.  A high-resolution radiation hybrid map of chicken chromosome 5 and comparison with human chromosomes 
BMC Genomics  2004;5:66.
The resolution of radiation hybrid (RH) maps is intermediate between that of the genetic and BAC (Bacterial Artificial Chromosome) contig maps. Moreover, once framework RH maps of a genome have been constructed, a quick location of markers by simple PCR on the RH panel is possible. The chicken ChickRH6 panel recently produced was used here to construct a high resolution RH map of chicken GGA5. To confirm the validity of the map and to provide valuable comparative mapping information, both markers from the genetic map and a high number of ESTs (Expressed Sequence Tags) were used. Finally, this RH map was used for testing the accuracy of the chicken genome assembly for chromosome 5.
A total of 169 markers (21 microsatellites and 148 ESTs) were typed on the ChickRH6 RH panel, of which 134 were assigned to GGA5. The final map is composed of 73 framework markers extending over a 1315.6 cR distance. The remaining 61 markers were placed alongside the framework markers within confidence intervals.
The high resolution framework map obtained in this study has markers covering the entire chicken chromosome 5 and reveals the existence of a high number of rearrangements when compared to the human genome. Only two discrepancies were observed in relation to the sequence assembly recently reported for this chromosome.
PMCID: PMC521070  PMID: 15369602

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