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Rothammer, Sophie; Kunz, Elisabeth; Krebs, Stefan; Bitzer, Fanny; Hauser, Andreas; Zinovieva, Natalia; Klymiuk, Nikolai; Medugorac, Ivica (2018): Remapping of the belted phenotype in cattle on BTA3 identifies a multiplication event as the candidate causal mutation. In: Genetics Selection Evolution 50:36


Background: It has been known for almost a century that the belted phenotype in cattle follows a pattern of dominant inheritance. In 2009, the approximate position of the belt locus in Brown Swiss cattle was mapped to a 922-kb interval on bovine chromosome 3 and, subsequently, assigned to a 336-kb haplotype block based on an animal set that included, Brown Swiss, Dutch Belted (Lakenvelder) and Belted Galloway individuals. A possible candidate gene in this region i.e. HES6 was investigated but the causal mutation remains unknown. Thus, to elucidate the causal mutation of this prominent coat color phenotype, we decided to remap the belted phenotype in an independent animal set of several European bovine breeds, i.e. Gurtenvieh (belted Brown Swiss), Dutch Belted and Belted Galloway and to systematically scan the candidate region. We also checked the presence of the detected causal mutation in the genome of belted individuals from a Siberian cattle breed. Results: A combined linkage disequilibrium and linkage analysis based on 110 belted and non-belted animals identified a candidate interval of 2.5 Mb. Manual inspection of the haplotypes in this region identified four candidate haplotypes that consisted of five to eight consecutive SNPs. One of these haplotypes overlapped with the initial 922-kb interval, whereas two were positioned proximal and one was positioned distal to this region. Next-generation sequencing of one heterozygous and two homozygous belted animals identified only one private belted candidate allele, i.e. a multiplication event that is located between 118,608,000 and 118,614,000 bp. Targeted locus amplification and quantitative real-time PCR confirmed an increase in copy number of this region in the genomes of both European (Belted Galloway, Dutch Belted and Gurtenvieh) and Siberian (Yakutian cattle) breeds. Finally, using nanopore sequencing, the exact breakpoints were determined at 118,608,362 and 118,614,132 bp. The closest gene to the candidate causal mutation (16 kb distal) is TWIST2. Conclusions: Based on our findings and those of a previously published study that identified the same multiplication event, a quadruplication on bovine chromosome 3 between positions 118,608,362 and 118,614,132 bp is the most likely candidate causal mutation for the belted phenotype in cattle.