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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Animal Genetics

An association between lifespan and variation in insulin-like growth factor I receptor in sheep1


This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 90 No. 8, p. 2484-2487
    Received: Aug 8, 2011
    Accepted: Oct 16, 2011
    Published: January 20, 2015

    2 Corresponding author(s):

  1. S. O. Byun*,
  2. R. H. Forrest,
  3. C. M. Frampton,
  4. H. Zhou* and
  5. J. G. H. Hickford 2
  1. *Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Lincoln University, Canterbury 7647, New Zealand
    †Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, Eastern Institute of Technology, Napier
    New Zealand; and
    ‡Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Christchurch, New Zealand


Longevity in livestock is a valuable trait. When productive animals live longer, fewer replacement animals need to be raised. However, selection for longevity is not commonly the focus of breeding programs as direct selection for long-lived breeding stock is virtually impossible until late in the reproductive life of the animal. Additionally the underlying genetic factors or genes associated with longevity are either not known, or not well understood. In humans, there is evidence that IGF 1 receptor (IGF1R) is involved in longevity. Polymorphism in the IGF1R gene has been associated with longevity in a number of species. Recently, 3 alleles of ovine IGF1R were identified, but no analysis of the effect of IGF1R variation on sheep longevity has been reported. In this study, associations between ovine IGF1R variation, longevity and fertility were investigated. Polymerase chain reaction-single strand conformational polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) was used to type IGF1R variation in 1,716 New Zealand sheep belonging to 6 breeds and 36 flocks. Ovine IGF1R C was associated with age when adjusting for flock (present 5.5 ± 0.2 yr, absent 5.0 ± 0.1 yr, P = 0.02). A general linear mixed effects model suggested an association (P = 0.06) between age and genotype, when correcting for flock. Pairwise comparison (least significant difference) of specific genotypes revealed the difference to be between AA (5.0 ± 0.1 yr) and AC (5.6 ± 0.2 yr, P = 0.02). A weak negative Pearson correlation between fertility and longevity traits was observed (r = -0.25, P < 0.01). The finding of an association between variation in IGF1R and lifespan in sheep may be useful in prolonging the lifespan of sheep.

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