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Polymorphisms of KAP6, KAP7, and KAP8 genes in four Chinese sheep breeds

Author(s): Y.X. Liu, G.Q. Shi, H.X. Wang, P.C. Wan, H. Tang, H. Yang and F. Guan

High glycine-tyrosine proteins (HGTPs), also known as keratin-associated proteins (KAPs), play a key role in the major structures and mechanical properties of wool fiber. Sheep HGTPs consist of three multigene families: KAP6, KAP7, and KAP8 genes. Polymorphisms of these three genes have been proposed to have important effects on wool fiber traits. The aim of the present study was to identify polymorphisms of the KAP6, KAP7, and KAP8 genes in four sheep breeds, including Chinese Merino superfine wool sheep, Hu sheep, a Merino x Hu crossed breed, and Romney sheep. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) product direct sequencing, PCR-single-strand conformation polymorphism, and cloned sequencing methods were used to find genetic variation and identify polymorphisms in these genes. The Mutation Surveyor v3.97 software was used to analyze the sequences. These methods revealed six different sequences of the KAP6 gene, two different sequences of the KAP7 gene, and five different sequences of the KAP8 gene. Accordingly, three (with frequencies >1%) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the KAP6 gene, one SNP of the KAP7 gene, and five SNPs of the KAP8 gene were detected. Interestingly, some of these sequences were present in only certain sheep breeds, thereby suggesting that these special allele sequences could be used as candidate genes of wool characteristics in further studies.