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Rothammer, Sophie; Kunz, Elisabeth; Seichter, Doris; Krebs, Stefan; Wassertheurer, Martina; Fries, Ruedi; Brem, Gottfried; Medugorac, Ivica (2017): Detection of two non-synonymous SNPs in SLC45A2 on BTA20 as candidate causal mutations for oculocutaneous albinism in Braunvieh cattle. In: Genetics Selection Evolution 49:73
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Abstract

Background: Cases of albinism have been reported in several species including cattle. So far, research has identified many genes that are involved in this eye-catching phenotype. Thus, when two paternal Braunvieh half-sibs with oculocutaneous albinism were detected on a private farm, we were interested in knowing whether their phenotype was caused by an already known gene/mutation. Results: Analysis of genotyping data (50K) of the two albino individuals, their mothers and five other relatives identified a 47.61-Mb candidate haplotype on Bos taurus chromosome BTA20. Subsequent comparisons of the sequence of this haplotype with sequence data from four Braunvieh sires and the Aurochs genome identified two possible candidate causal mutations at positions 39,829,806 bp (G/A;R45Q) and 39,864,148 bp (C/T;T444I) that were absent in 1682 animals from various bovine breeds included in the 1000 bull genomes project. Both polymorphisms represent coding variants in the SLC45A2 gene, for which the human equivalent harbors numerous variants associated with oculocutaneous albinism type 4. We demonstrate an association of R45Q and T444I with the albino phenotype by targeted genotyping. Conclusions: Although the candidate gene SLC45A2 is known to be involved in albinism in different species, to date in cattle only mutations in the TYR and MITF genes were reported to be associated with albinism or albinism-like phenotypes. Thus, our study extends the list of genes that are associated with bovine albinism. However, further research and more samples from related animals are needed to elucidate if only one of these two single nucleotide polymorphisms or the combination of both is the actual causal variant.