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Anim Biosci > Accepted Articles
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.20.0248    [Accepted] Published online October 14, 2020.
Identification of genes involved in inbreeding depression of reproduction in Langshan chickens
Qian Xue1  , Guohui Li1  , Yuxia Cao1  , Jianmei Yin1  , Yunfen Zhu1  , Huiyong Zhang1  , Chenghao Zhou1  , Haiyu Shen1  , Xinhong Dou1  , Yijun Su1  , Kehua Wang1  , Jianmin Zou1,*  , Wei Han1,* 
Poultry Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science, Yangzhou 225000, China
Correspondence:  Jianmin Zou, Tel: 86-0514-8559-9078, Fax: 86-0514-8559-9078, Email: hanwei830@163.com
Wei Han, Tel: 86-0514-8559-9078, Fax: 86-0514-8559-9078, Email: hanwei830@163.com
Received: 21 April 2020   • Revised: 29 July 2020   • Accepted: 21 April 2020
Inbreeding depression of reproduction is a major concern in the conservation of native chicken genetic resources. Here, based on the successful development of strongly inbred (Sinb) and weakly inbred (Winb) Langshan chickens, we aimed to evaluate inbreeding effects on reproductive traits and identify candidate genes involved in inbreeding depression of reproduction in Langshan chickens.
A two-sample t-test was performed to estimate the differences in phenotypic values of reproductive traits between Sinb and Winb chicken groups. Three healthy chickens with reproductive trait values around the group mean values were selected from each of the groups. Differences in ovarian and hypothalamus transcriptomes between the two groups of chickens were analyzed by RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq).
The Sinb chicken group showed an obvious inbreeding depression in reproduction, especially for traits of age at the first egg and egg number at 300 days (P < 0.01). Furthermore, 68 and 618 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were obtained in the hypothalamus and ovary between the two chicken groups, respectively. In the hypothalamus, DEGs were mainly enriched in the pathways related to vitamin metabolism, signal transduction and development of the reproductive system, such as the riboflavin metabolism, Wnt signaling pathway, ECM-receptor interaction and focal adhesion pathways, including STRA6, SERPINF1, SFRP2, WNT6 and FZD4 genes. In the ovary, DEGs were significantly enriched in pathways associated with basic metabolism, including amino acid metabolism, oxidative phosphorylation, and glycosaminoglycan degradation. A series of key DEGs involved in folate biosynthesis (GGH, GCH1), oocyte meiosis and ovarian function (CPEB1, SMC1B, and SPDYA), spermatogenesis and male fertility (PTGDS, MOV10L1, and DEUP1) were identified, and these may play important roles in inbreeding depression in reproduction.
The results improve our understanding of the regulatory mechanisms underlying inbreeding depression in chicken reproduction and provide a theoretical basis for the conservation of species resources.
Keywords: Conservation; Gallus gallus; Inbreeding Depression; Reproduction; Transcriptome

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