Identification of genes involved in inbreeding depression of reproduction in Langshan chickens

  • Xue, Qian (Poultry Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science) ;
  • Li, Guohui (Poultry Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science) ;
  • Cao, Yuxia (Poultry Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science) ;
  • Yin, Jianmei (Poultry Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science) ;
  • Zhu, Yunfen (Poultry Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science) ;
  • Zhang, Huiyong (Poultry Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science) ;
  • Zhou, Chenghao (Poultry Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science) ;
  • Shen, Haiyu (Poultry Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science) ;
  • Dou, Xinhong (Poultry Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science) ;
  • Su, Yijun (Poultry Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science) ;
  • Wang, Kehua (Poultry Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science) ;
  • Zou, Jianmin (Poultry Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science) ;
  • Han, Wei (Poultry Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science)
  • Received : 2020.04.21
  • Accepted : 2020.10.05
  • Published : 2021.06.01


Objective: Inbreeding depression of reproduction is a major concern in the conservation of native chicken genetic resources. Here, based on the successful development of strongly inbred (Sinb) and weakly inbred (Winb) Langshan chickens, we aimed to evaluate inbreeding effects on reproductive traits and identify candidate genes involved in inbreeding depression of reproduction in Langshan chickens. Methods: A two-sample t-test was performed to estimate the differences in phenotypic values of reproductive traits between Sinb and Winb chicken groups. Three healthy chickens with reproductive trait values around the group mean values were selected from each of the groups. Differences in ovarian and hypothalamus transcriptomes between the two groups of chickens were analyzed by RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq). Results: The Sinb chicken group showed an obvious inbreeding depression in reproduction, especially for traits of age at the first egg and egg number at 300 days (p<0.01). Furthermore, 68 and 618 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were obtained in the hypothalamus and ovary between the two chicken groups, respectively. In the hypothalamus, DEGs were mainly enriched in the pathways related to vitamin metabolism, signal transduction and development of the reproductive system, such as the riboflavin metabolism, Wnt signaling pathway, extracellular matrix-receptor interaction and focal adhesion pathways, including stimulated by retinoic acid 6, serpin family F member 1, secreted frizzled related protein 2, Wnt family member 6, and frizzled class receptor 4 genes. In the ovary, DEGs were significantly enriched in pathways associated with basic metabolism, including amino acid metabolism, oxidative phosphorylation, and glycosaminoglycan degradation. A series of key DEGs involved in folate biosynthesis (gamma-glutamyl hydrolase, guanosine triphosphate cyclohydrolase 1), oocyte meiosis and ovarian function (cytoplasmic polyadenylation element binding protein 1, structural maintenance of chromosomes 1B, and speedy/RINGO cell cycle regulator family member A), spermatogenesis and male fertility (prostaglandin D2 synthase 21 kDa), Mov10 RISC complex RNA helicase like 1, and deuterosome assembly protein 1) were identified, and these may play important roles in inbreeding depression in reproduction. Conclusion: The results improve our understanding of the regulatory mechanisms underlying inbreeding depression in chicken reproduction and provide a theoretical basis for the conservation of species resources.


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