Polymorphisms of melatonin receptor genes and their associations with egg production traits in Shaoxing duck

  • Feng, Peishi (College of Animal Science, South China Agricultural University) ;
  • Zhao, Wanqiu (Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences) ;
  • Xie, Qiang (College of Animal Science, South China Agricultural University) ;
  • Zeng, Tao (Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences) ;
  • Lu, Lizhi (Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences) ;
  • Yang, Lin (College of Animal Science, South China Agricultural University)
  • Received : 2017.11.10
  • Accepted : 2018.03.14
  • Published : 2018.10.01


Objective: In birds, three types of melatonin receptors (MTNR1A, MTNR1B, and MTNR1C) have been cloned. Previous researches have showed that three melatonin receptors played an essential role in reproduction and ovarian physiology. However, the association of polymorphisms of the three receptors with duck reproduction traits and egg quality traits is still unknown. In this test, we chose MTNR1A, MTNR1B, and MTNR1C as candidate genes to detect novel sequence polymorphism and analyze their association with egg production traits in Shaoxing duck, and detected their mRNA expression level in ovaries. Methods: In this study, a total of 785 duck blood samples were collected to investigate the association of melatonin receptor genes with egg production traits and egg quality traits using a direct sequencing method. And 6 ducks representing two groups (3 of each) according to the age at first eggs (at 128 days of age or after 150 days of age) were carefully selected for quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Results: Seven novel polymorphisms (MTNR1A: g. 268C>T, MTNR1B: g. 41C>T, and g. 161T>C, MTNR1C: g. 10C>T, g. 24A>G, g. 108C>T, g. 363 T>C) were detected. The single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) of MTNR1A (g. 268C>T) was significantly linked with the age at first egg (p<0.05). And a statistically significant association (p<0.05) was found between MTNR1C g.108 C>T and egg production traits: total egg numbers at 34 weeks old of age and age at first egg. In addition, the mRNA expression level of MTNR1A in ovary was significantly higher in late-mature group than in early-mature group, while MTNR1C showed a contrary tendency (p<0.05). Conclusion: These results suggest that identified SNPs in MTNR1A and MTNR1C may influence the age at first egg and could be considered as the candidate molecular marker for identify early maturely traits in duck selection and improvement.


  1. Kharwar RK, Haldar C. Anatomical and histological profile of bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue and localization of melatonin receptor types (Mel1a and Mel1b) in the lungassociated immune system of a tropical bird, Perdicula asiatica. Acta Histochem 2011;113:333-9.
  2. Trivedi AK, Kumar V. Melatonin: an internal signal for daily and seasonal timing. Indian J Exp Biol 2014;52:425-37.
  3. Yadav SK, Haldar C. Reciprocal interaction between melatonin receptors ($Mel_{1a}$, $Mel_{1b}$, and $Mel_{1c}$) and androgen receptor (AR) expression in immunoregulation of a seasonally breeding bird, Perdicula asiatica: role of photoperiod. J Photochem Photobiol B Biol 2013;122:52-60.
  4. Reppert SM. Melatonin receptors: molecular biology of a new family of G protein-coupled receptors. J Biol Rhythm 1997;12:528-31.
  5. Li DY, Smith DG, Hardeland R, et al. Melatonin receptor genes in vertebrates. Int J Mol Sci 2013;14:11208-23.
  6. Reppert SM, Weaver DR, Cassone VM, Godson C, Kolakowski LF. Melatonin receptors are for the birds: Molecular analysis of two receptor subtypes differentially expressed in chick brain. Neuron 1995;15:1003-15.
  7. Sundaresan NR, Marcus Leo MD, Subramani J, et al. Expression analysis of melatonin receptor subtypes in the ovary of domestic chicken. Vet Res Commun 2009;33:49-56.
  8. Wang Y, Peng K, Li J, et al. Ultrastructure and melatonin 1a receptor distribution in the ovaries of African ostrich chicks. Cytotechnology 2008;56:187-95.
  9. He H, Jiang DM, Kang B, et al. Gene expression profiling of melatonin receptor subtypes in the ovarian hierarchical follicles of the Sichuan white goose. Anim Reprod Sci 2014;145:62-8.
  10. Tsutsui K. A new key neurohormone controlling reproduction, gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH): biosynthesis, mode of action and functional significance. Prog Neurobiol 2009;88:76-88.
  11. Ubuka T, Bentley GE, Ukena K, Wingfield JC, Tsutsui K. Melatonin induces the expression of gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone in the avian brain. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2005;102:3052-7.
  12. Chen H, Liu J, Fu Y. The study of Shaoxing duck. Chinese J Anim Sci 2003;1:48-9.
  13. Alsiddig MA, Yu SG, Pan ZX, et al. Association of single nucleotide polymorphism in melatonin receptor 1A gene with egg production traits in Yangzhou geese. Anim Genet 2017;48:245-9.
  14. Li DY, Zhang L, Smith DG, et al. Genetic effects of melatonin receptor genes on chicken reproductive traits. Czech J Anim Sci 2013;58:58-64.
  15. Niknafs S, Nejati-Javaremi A, Mehrabani-Yeganeh H, Fatemi SA. Estimation of genetic parameters for body weight and egg production traits in Mazandaran native chicken. Trop Anim Health Prod 2012;44:1437-43.
  16. Savegnago RP, Caetano SL, Ramos SB, et al. Estimates of genetic parameters, and cluster and principal components analyses of breeding values related to egg production traits in a White Leghorn population. Poult Sci 2011;90:2174-88.
  17. Goraga ZS, Nassar MK, Brockmann GA. Quantitative trait loci segregating in crosses between New Hampshire and White Leghorn chicken lines: I. egg production traits. Anim Genet 2012;43:183-9.
  18. Poivey JP. Heritabilities and genetic correlations of laying performance in Muscovy ducks selected in Taiwan. Br Poult Sci 2004;45:180-5.
  19. Cheng YS, Rouvier R, Poivey JP, Tai C. Genetic parameters of body weight, egg production and shell quality traits in the Brown Tsaiya laying duck. Genet Sel Evol 1995;27:1-14.
  20. Lin RL, Chen HP, Rouvier R, Marie-Etancelin C. Genetic parameters of body weight, egg production, and shell quality traits in the Shan Ma laying duck (Anas platyrhynchos). 2016;95:2514-9.
  21. El HM, Kang SW, Leclerc B, Kosonsiriluk S, Chaiseha Y. Dopamine-melatonin neurons in the avian hypothalamus and their role as photoperiodic clocks. Gen Comp Endocrinol 2009;163:123-7.
  22. Surbhi, Kumari Y, Rani S, Tsutsui K, Kumar V. Duration of melatonin regulates seasonal plasticity in subtropical Indian weaver bird, Ploceus philippinus. Gen Comp Endocrinol 2015;220:46-54.
  23. Chowdhury VS, Yamamoto K, Ubuka T, et al. Melatonin stimulates the release of gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone by the avian hypothalamus. Endocrinology 2010;151:271-80.
  24. Rozenboim I, Aharony T, Yahav S. The effect of melatonin administration on circulating plasma luteinizing hormone concentration in castrated White Leghorn roosters. Poult Sci 2002;81:1354-9.
  25. Xu H, Zeng H, Luo C, et al. Genetic effects of polymorphisms in candidate genes and the QTL region on chicken age at first egg. BMC Genet 2011;12:33.
  26. Feng XP, Kuhnlein U, Aggrey SE, Gavora JS, Zadworny D. Trait association of genetic markers in the growth hormone and the growth hormone receptor gene in a White Leghorn strain. Poult Sci 1997;76:1770-5.
  27. Dunn IC, Miao YW, Morris A, et al. A study of association between genetic markers in candidate genes and reproductive traits in one generation of a commercial broiler breeder hen population. Heredity 2004;92:128-34.
  28. Li HF, Shu JT, Du YF, et al. Analysis of the genetic effects of prolactin gene polymorphisms on chicken egg production. Mol Biol Rep 2013;40:289-94.
  29. Xu J, Gao X, Li X, et al. Molecular characterization, expression profile of the FSHR gene and its association with egg production traits in muscovy duck. J Genet 2017;96:341-51.
  30. Bentley GE, Ball GF. Photoperiod-dependent and -independent regulation of melatonin receptors in the forebrain of songbirds. J Neuroendocrinol 2000;12:745-52.
  31. Abd ENWS, Basha HA. Expression of melatonin receptor subtype genes and its impact on reproductive traits in Japanese Quail in different lighting systems. Avian Biol Res 2016;9:250-6.