Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)TiHo eLib

Tracking footprints of artificial and natural selection signatures in breeding and non-breeding cats

Stray non-breeding cats (stray) represent the largest heterogeneous cat population subject to natural selection, while populations of the Siamese (SIAM) and Oriental Shorthair (OSH) breeds developed through intensive artificial selection for aesthetic traits. Runs of homozygosity (ROH) and demographic measures are useful tools to discover chromosomal regions of recent selection and to characterize genetic diversity in domestic cat populations. To achieve this, we genotyped 150 stray and 26 household non-breeding cats (household) on the Illumina feline 63 K SNP BeadChip and compared them to SIAM and OSH. The 50% decay value of squared correlation coefficients (r2) in stray (0.23), household (0.25), OSH (0.24) and SIAM (0.25) corresponded to a mean marker distance of 1.12 Kb, 4.55 Kb, 62.50 Kb and 175.07 Kb, respectively. The effective population size (Ne) decreased in the current generation to 55 in stray, 11 in household, 9 in OSH and 7 in SIAM. In the recent generation, the increase in inbreeding per generation (ΔF) reached its maximum values of 0.0090, 0.0443, 0.0561 and 0.0710 in stray, household, OSH and SIAM, respectively. The genomic inbreeding coefficient (FROH) based on ROH was calculated for three length categories. The FROH was between 0.014 (FROH60) and 0.020 (FROH5) for stray, between 0.018 (FROH60) and 0.024 (FROH5) for household, between 0.048 (FROH60) and 0.069 (FROH5) for OSH and between 0.053 (FROH60) and 0.073 (FROH5) for SIAM. We identified nine unique selective regions for stray through genome-wide analyses for regions with reduced heterozygosity based on FST statistics. Genes in these regions have previously been associated with reproduction (BUB1B), motor/neurological behavior (GPHN, GABRB3), cold-induced thermogenesis (DIO2, TSHR), immune system development (TSHR), viral carcinogenesis (GTF2A1), host immune response against bacteria, viruses, chemoattractant and cancer cells (PLCB2, BAHD1, TIGAR), and lifespan and aging (BUB1B, FGF23). In addition, we identified twelve unique selective regions for OSH containing candidate genes for a wide range of coat colors and patterns (ADAMTS20, KITLG, TYR, TYRO3-a MITF regulator, GPNMB, FGF7, RAB38) as well as congenital heart defects (PDE4D, PKP2) and gastrointestinal disorders (NLGN1, ALDH1B1). Genes in stray that represent unique selective events indicate, at least in part, natural selection for environmental adaptation and resistance to infectious disease, and should be the subject of future research. Stray cats represent an important genetic resource and have the potential to become a research model for disease resistance and longevity, which is why we recommend preserving semen before neutering.


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