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Mol Biol Evol. 2011 Jun;28(6):1801-16. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msr003. Epub 2011 Jan 7.

The genetic structure of domestic rabbits.

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1
CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, Campus Agrário de Vairão, Vairão, Portugal. miguel.carneiro@mail.icav.up.pt

Abstract

Understanding the genetic structure of domestic species provides a window into the process of domestication and motivates the design of studies aimed at making links between genotype and phenotype. Rabbits exhibit exceptional phenotypic diversity, are of great commercial value, and serve as important animal models in biomedical research. Here, we provide the first comprehensive survey of nucleotide polymorphism and linkage disequilibrium (LD) within and among rabbit breeds. We resequenced 16 genomic regions in population samples of both wild and domestic rabbits and additional 35 fragments in 150 rabbits representing six commonly used breeds. Patterns of genetic variation suggest a single origin of domestication in wild populations from France, supporting historical records that place rabbit domestication in French monasteries. Levels of nucleotide diversity both within and among breeds were ~0.2%, but only 60% of the diversity present in wild populations from France was captured by domestic rabbits. Despite the recent origin of most breeds, levels of population differentiation were high (F(ST) = 17.9%), but the majority of polymorphisms were shared and thus transferable among breeds. Coalescent simulations suggest that domestication began with a small founding population of less than 1,200 individuals. Taking into account the complex demographic history of domestication with two successive bottlenecks, two loci showed deviations that were consistent with artificial selection, including GPC4, which is known to be associated with growth rates in humans. Levels of diversity were not significantly different between autosomal and X-linked loci, providing no evidence for differential contributions of males and females to the domesticated gene pool. The structure of LD differed substantially within and among breeds. Within breeds, LD extends over large genomic distances. Markers separated by 400 kb typically showed r(2) higher than 0.2, and some LD extended up to 3,200 kb. Much less LD was found among breeds. This advantageous LD structure holds great promise for reducing the interval of association in future mapping studies.

PMID:
21216839
PMCID:
PMC3695642
DOI:
10.1093/molbev/msr003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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