Genome-wide scan reveals important additive and non-additive genetic effects associated with resistance to Haemonchus contortus in Florida Native sheep.


Estrada-Reyes ZM(1), Rae DO(2), Mateescu RG(3).
Author information:
(1)College of Agriculture, Family Sciences, and Technology, Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley, GA 31030, USA; Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
(3)Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.


Florida Native sheep is among the sheep breeds best adapted to humid and hot climatic conditions such as those of Florida, USA, and have shown a superior ability to regulate nematode burdens. This is one of the oldest sheep breeds in North America and is an endangered species. To ensure genetic diversity and long-term survival of the breed, protection of the current genetic stock is critical and conservation efforts are required to promote its breeding and production. The objective of the present study was to investigate the importance of additive and non-additive genetic effects on resistance to natural Haemonchus contortus infections in Florida Native sheep using a whole genome scan. A total of 200 sheep were evaluated in the present study. Phenotypic records included faecal egg count (FEC, eggs/gram), FAMACHA® score, packed cell volume (PCV, %), body condition score and average daily gain (ADG, kg). Sheep were genotyped using the GGP Ovine 50K SNP chip and 45.2 k single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers spanning the entire genome were available for quality control procedures. Mixed models were used to analyse the response variables and included the identity by state matrix to control for population structure. Bonferroni correction was used to control for multiple testing and a second arbitrary threshold (0.1 × 10-3) was used. Fifteen SNPs with additive and non-additive genetic effects and located in Ovis aries chromosome OAR1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 21 were associated with FEC, FAMACHA® score, PCV and ADG. These SNPs could be potential genetic markers for resistance to natural H. contortus exposure in Florida Native sheep.