The high prolificacy of D'man sheep is associated with the segregation of the FecL mutation in the B4GALNT2 gene.

TitleThe high prolificacy of D'man sheep is associated with the segregation of the FecL mutation in the B4GALNT2 gene.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsBen Jemaa, S, Ruesche, J, Sarry, J, Woloszyn, F, Lassoued, N, Fabre, S
JournalReprod Domest Anim
Volume54
Issue3
Pagination531-537
Date Published2019 Mar
ISSN1439-0531
Abstract

Mutations in the FecL locus are associated with large variation in ovulation rate and litter size in the French Lacaune sheep breed. It has been shown that the B4GALNT2 gene within the FecL locus is most likely responsible for the high fecundity in the French breed. In this study, we have highlighted the segregation of the FecL mutation within the B4GALNT2 gene in North African sheep breeds and notably in the highly prolific D'man breed. Genotyping of a sample of 183 Tunisian D'man individuals revealed a high frequency (0.65) of the prolific allele FecL which was attributed to the adoption of a decades-old breeding strategy based on the selection of ewe lambs born from large litter size. Homozygous LL ewes showed a significantly increased litter size compared to heterozygous and non-carrier ewes (FecL /FecL  = 2.47 ± 0.09 vs. FecL /FecL  = 2.23 ± 0.09, p < 0.05 and FecL /FecL  = 1.93 ± 0.18, p < 0.01). The presence of the FecL polymorphism in both D'man and Lacaune breeds argues for an ancestral origin of this mutation and brings an answer to the old question of the genetic determinism of the extreme prolificacy of the D'man ewes. The results of this study can help to establish planned genotype-based mating allowing both higher profit for the breeders and an optimal management of the FecL mutation in D'man sheep populations.

DOI10.1111/rda.13391
Alternate JournalReprod. Domest. Anim.
PubMed ID30561778
Grant ListB/5478-2 / / International Foundation for Science /
FP7/2010-2014 / / European Union's Seventh Framework Programme /
/ / Tunisian Livestock and Pasture Office (OEP) /