Growth hormone (GH) gene has been described as a candidate gene for marker-assisted selection in different farm animals. The present study was designed to identify the polymorphism in GH gene and its association with variation of wool traits in Egyptian sheep breeds. Wool and blood samples were collected from 42 animals including two breeds (Barki and Rahmani) and one crossbred (Rahmani x Awase). Measurements of wool traits were analyzed and involved staple strength (Str), staple length (STL), fiber diameter (FD) and clean fleece yield (CFW). DNA was extracted from blood samples and a 365-bp fragment from exon V was amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Single strand conformation polymorphisim (SSCP) analysis showed two conformational patterns. The pattern I was recorded to be more frequent (83.3, 92.86 and 90%) than pattern II (16.7, 7.14 and 10%) in Barki, Rahmani and crossbred, respectively. The sequence analysis showed one single nucleotide polymorphism (C/T). The pattern I (allele T) has been found to affect CFW and FD than pattern II (allele C). Whereas, C allele was more pronounced for Str and STL. These traits are the most important parameters determining commercial values of wool that are preferred for clothing or carpets industry. The nucleotide sequences of C and T alleles were submitted to GenBank and have the accession numbers: KT250511 and KT250512, respectively. In conclusion, the present results provide evidence that there is a single nucleotide polymorphism within GH gene in Egyptian sheep breeds. This mutation was found to have some effects on wool traits. Therefore our data show interesting prospects in future selection programs for improving wool industry.
Key words: Sheep, wool, growth hormone (GH) gene, polymorphism, single strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP).
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