Journal: BMC Genetics, 2014
Publisher: BioMed Central (BMC)
International Standard Numbers:
Open Access: gold
The domestic turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is an important agricultural species that is largely used as a meat-type bird. Characterizing genetic variation in populations of domesticated species and associating these variation patterns with the evolution, domestication, and selective breeding is critical for understanding the dynamics of genomic change in these species. Intense selective breeding and population bottlenecks are expected to leave signatures in the genome of domesticated species, such as unusually low nucleotide diversity or the presence of exceptionally extended haplotype homozygosity. These patterns of variation in selected populations are highly useful to not only understand the consequences of selective breeding and population dynamics, but also to provide insights into biological mechanisms that may affect physiological processes important to bring changes in phenotype of interest.
We observed 54 genomic regions in heritage and commercial turkey populations on 14 different chromosomes that showed statistically significant (P < 0.05) reduction in genomic variation indicating candidate selective sweeps. Areas with evidence of selective sweeps varied from 1.5 Mb to 13.8 Mb in length. Out of these 54 sweeps, 23 overlapped at least partially between two or more populations. Overlapping sweeps were found on 13 different chromosomes. The remaining 31 sweeps were population-specific and were observed on 12 different chromosomes, with 26 of these regions present only in commercial populations. Genes that are known to affect growth were enriched in the sweep regions.
The turkey genome showed large sweep regions. The relatively high number of sweep regions in commercial turkey populations compared to heritage varieties and the enrichment of genes important to growth in these regions, suggest that these sweeps are the result of intense selection in these commercial lines, moving specific haplotypes towards fixation.