Identification of potential genomic regions and candidate genes for egg albumen quality by a genome-wide association study
Albumen quality is a leading economic trait in the chicken industry. Major studies have paid attention to genetic architecture underlying albumen quality. However, the putative quantitative trait locus (QTL) for this trait is still unclear. In this genome-wide association study, we used an F2 resource population to study longitudinal albumen quality. Seven single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) loci were found to be significantly (p<8.43×10-7) related to albumen quality by univariate analysis, while 11 SNPs were significantly (p<8.43×10-7) associated with albumen quality by multivariate analysis. A QTL on GGA4 had a pervasive function on albumen quality, including a SNP at the missense of NCAPG, and a SNP at the intergenic region of FGFPB1. It was further found that the putative QTLs at GGA1, GGA2, and GGA7 had the strongest effects on albumen height (AH) at 32 weeks, Haugh units (HU) at 44 weeks, and AH at 55 weeks. Moreover, novel SNPs on GGA5 and GGA3 were associated with AH and HU at 32, 44, and 48 weeks of age. These results confirmed the regions for egg weight that were detected in a previous study and were similar with QTL for albumen quality. These results showed that GGA4 had the strongest effect on albumen quality. Only a few significant loci were detected for most characteristics probably reflecting the attributes of a pleiotropic gene and a minor-polygene in quantitative traits.