The aim of this study was to characterize the MTNR1A locus in Sarda sheep breed, in order to identify potential single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with reproductive resumption. The reproductive performance of 200 lactating ewes, aged 3–5 years, with body condition score (BCS) 2.5–4.0, at least at their third lambing were monitored for two consecutive years. In both year the enrolled ewes were exposed for 100 days to 10 adult, fertile rams. Mating, pregnancy and lambing for each ewe were recorded in order to evaluate differences in reproductive performance according to the analysed genotypes. From individual blood samples, DNA was extracted to amplify and to sequence promotor, the coding region, a part of intron and of 3′ Untranslated region (3′ UTR) of the MTNR1A gene. A total number of 29 SNPs were found (named SNP1 to SNP29), five of which caused also amino acid changes. The polymorphic sites found at positions g.17355452C > T (SNP16, rs430181568) and g.17355358C > T (SNP17, rs407388227) were linked (D’ = 1 and r2 = 1) and showed a significant association to DRIL trait (distance in days from ram introduction to lambing). In both years, the ewes carrying C/C genotype in both these polymorphic sites showed the lowest DRIL compared to the other genotypes (P < 0.05). The ewes carrying C/C and T/C genotype exhibited the lambing peak at 170 days, and approximately 60% of the total lambing at 180 days from the ram introduction. Instead, ewes carrying T/T genotype showed the lambing peak around 200 days after ram introduction. Six haplotypes have been identified and the most frequent haplotype was also associated with lower DRIL (P < 0.05). Litter size displayed no statistical significance either among genotypes or among haplotypes. This study provided the major part of the MTNR1A gene in Sarda sheep breed and evidenced that SNP17 is associated with a shorter DRIL. The obtained results underlined the role of this polymorphism in improving reproductive efficiency in Sarda sheep and provides a suitable information for improving genetic selection.
New polymorphisms at MTNR1A gene and their association with reproductive resumption in sarda breed sheep / Luridiana, S.; Cosso, G.; Pulinas, L.; Di Stefano, M. V.; Curone, G.; Carcangiu, V.; Mura, M. C.. - In: THERIOGENOLOGY. - ISSN 0093-691X. - 158:(2020), pp. 438-444. [10.1016/j.theriogenology.2020.10.006]