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Background: In addition to additive genetic effects, epistatic interactions can play key roles in the control of phenotypic variation of traits of interest. In the current study, 475 male birds from lean and fat chicken lines were utilized as a resource population to detect significant epistatic effects associated with growth and carcass traits.
Results: A total of 421 significant epistatic effects were associated with testis weight (TeW), from which 11 sub-networks (Sub-network1 to Sub-network11) were constructed. In Sub-network1, which was the biggest network, there was an interaction between GGA21 and GGAZ. Three genes on GGA21 (SDHB, PARK7 and VAMP3) and nine genes (AGTPBP1, CAMK4, CDC14B, FANCC, FBP1, GNAQ, PTCH1, ROR2 and STARD4) on GGAZ that might be potentially important candidate genes for testis growth and development were detected based on the annotated gene function. In Sub-network2, there was a SNP on GGA19 that interacted with 8 SNPs located on GGA10. The SNP (Gga_rs15834332) on GGA19 was located between C-C motif chemokine ligand 5 (CCL5) and MIR142. There were 32 Refgenes on GGA10, including TCF12 which is predicted to be a target gene of miR-142-5p. We hypothesize that miR-142-5p and TCF12 may interact with one another to regulate testis growth and development. Two genes (CDH12 and WNT8A) in the same cadherin signaling pathway were implicated as potentially important genes in the control of metatarsus circumference (MeC). There were no significant epistatic effects identified for the other carcass and growth traits, e.g. heart weight (HW), liver weight (LW), spleen weight (SW), muscular and glandular stomach weight (MGSW), carcass weight (CW), body weight (BW1, BW3, BW5, BW7), chest width (ChWi), metatarsus length (MeL).
Conclusions: The results of the current study are helpful to better understand the genetic basis of carcass and growth traits, especially for testis growth and development in broilers.
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Zhang, Hui; Yu, Jia-Qiang; Yang, Li-Li; Kramer, Luke M.; Zhang, Xin-Yang; Na, Wei; Reecy, James M.; and Li, Hui, "Identification of genome-wide SNP-SNP interactions associated with important traits in chicken" (2017). Animal Science Publications. 440.