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J Hered. 2009 Jul-Aug;100(4):481-6. doi: 10.1093/jhered/esp006. Epub 2009 Mar 20.

The candidate gene XIRP2 at a quantitative gene locus on equine chromosome 18 associated with osteochondrosis in fetlock and hock joints of South German Coldblood horses.

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Institute for Animal Breeding and Genetics, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation B├╝nteweg 17p, Hannover, Germany.


A whole-genome scan for radiological signs of osteochondrosis (OC) and osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD) in South German Coldblood (SGC) horses using 250 microsatellite markers identified a genome-wide significant quantitative trait locus (QTL) for fetlock OCD and a chromosome-wide QTL for hock OC on Equus caballus chromosome (ECA) 18 at a relative position of 45.9-78.2 cM. The aim of this study was to analyze associations of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in candidate genes for OC in this QTL region using 96 SGC horses. The OC-QTL on ECA18 could be confirmed and narrowed down to an interval of 13 Mb between GALNT13 and Xin actin-binding repeat containing 2 (XIRP2). SNPs in the XIRP2 gene were significantly associated with fetlock OC, fetlock OCD, and hock OC. The significant associations of SNPs in XIRP2 could be confirmed in linear animal models controlling for systematic environmental and residual quantitative genetic effects. The significant additive genetic effects of the intronic SNPs (AJ885515:g.159A>G, AJ885515:g.445T>C) in XIRP2 were 0.15 (P = 0.01) for fetlock OC, 0.27 (P = 0.01) for fetlock OCD, and 0.15-0.16 (P = 0.01-0.02) for hock OC. Homozygous (A/A or T/T) and heterozygous horses were at a 1.3- to 2.4-fold higher risk for fetlock and hock OC. These results suggest that dominant variants of XIRP2 may be involved in pathogenesis of equine OC.

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