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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Animal Genetics

Ovine mitochondrial DNA sequence variation and its association with production and reproduction traits within an Afec-Assaf flock1


This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 90 No. 7, p. 2084-2091
    Received: Sept 7, 2011
    Accepted: Jan 3, 2012
    Published: January 20, 2015

    2 Corresponding author(s):

  1. S. Reicher*†,
  2. E. Seroussi*,
  3. J. I. Weller*,
  4. A. Rosov* and
  5. E. Gootwine 2
  1. *Institute of Animal Science, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan, Israel; and
    †The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel


Polymorphisms in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) protein- and tRNA-coding genes were shown to be associated with various diseases in humans as well as with production and reproduction traits in livestock. Alignment of full length mitochondria sequences from the 5 known ovine haplogroups: HA (n = 3), HB (n = 5), HC (n = 3), HD (n = 2), and HE (n = 2; GenBank accession nos. HE577847-50 and 11 published complete ovine mitochondria sequences) revealed sequence variation in 10 out of the 13 protein coding mtDNA sequences. Twenty-six of the 245 variable sites found in the protein coding sequences represent non-synonymous mutations. Sequence variation was observed also in 8 out of the 22 tRNA mtDNA sequences. On the basis of the mtDNA control region and cytochrome b partial sequences along with information on maternal lineages within an Afec-Assaf flock, 1,126 Afec-Assaf ewes were assigned to mitochondrial haplogroups HA, HB, and HC, with frequencies of 0.43, 0.43, and 0.14, respectively. Analysis of birth weight and growth rate records of lamb (n = 1286) and productivity from 4,993 lambing records revealed no association between mitochondrial haplogroup affiliation and female longevity, lambs perinatal survival rate, birth weight, and daily growth rate of lambs up to 150 d that averaged 1,664 d, 88.3%, 4.5 kg, and 320 g/d, respectively. However, significant (P < 0.0001) differences among the haplogroups were found for prolificacy of ewes, with prolificacies (mean ± SE) of 2.14 ± 0.04, 2.25 ± 0.04, and 2.30 ± 0.06 lamb born/ewe lambing for the HA, HB, and the HC haplogroups, respectively. Our results highlight the ovine mitogenome genetic variation in protein- and tRNA coding genes and suggest that sequence variation in ovine mtDNA is associated with variation in ewe prolificacy.

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