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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #383180

Research Project: Enhancing Genetic Merit of Ruminants Through Improved Genome Assembly, Annotation, and Selection

Location: Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory

Title: Effect of temperature and maternal age on recombination rate in cattle

item SHEN, BOTONG - University Of Maryland
item FREEBERN, ELLEN - University Of Maryland
item JIANG, JICAI - North Carolina State University
item MALTECCA, CHRISTIAN - North Carolina State University
item COLE, JOHN - Former ARS Employee
item Liu, Ge - George
item MA, LI - University Of Maryland

Submitted to: Frontiers in Genetics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/28/2021
Publication Date: 7/20/2021
Citation: Shen, B., Freebern, E., Jiang, J., Maltecca, C., Cole, J.B., Liu, G., Ma, L. 2021. Effect of temperature and maternal age on recombination rate in cattle. Frontiers in Genetics. 12:682718.

Interpretive Summary: Recombination is a major biological process that facilitates cell division and increases genetic diversity. We detected the effects of temperature and maternal age on recombination rate in dairy cows with an estimated heritability of 10%. These results fill our knowledge gaps and provide the foundation for incorporating new knowledge into the future animal breeding program. Farmers, scientist, and policy planners who need improve animal health and production based on genome-enabled animal selection will benefit from this study.

Technical Abstract: Meiotic recombination is a fundamental biological process that facilitates meiotic division and promotes genetic diversity. Recombination is phenotypically plastic and affected by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The effect of maternal age on recombination rates has been characterized in wide ranges of species, but the direction of the effect remains inconclusive. Additionally, the characterization of temperature effect on recombination has been limited to model organisms. Here we seek to comprehensively study the effect of genetic and environmental factors on recombination rate in dairy cattle. Using a large cattle pedigree, we identified maternal recombination events within 305,545 three-generation families. By comparing recombination rate between dams of different ages, we found a quadratic trend between maternal age and recombination rate in cattle. In contrast to either an increasing or decreasing trend in humans, cattle recombination rate decreased with maternal age until 65 months and then increased afterwards. Combining recombination data with temperature information from public databases, we found a positive correlation between environmental temperature near birth and recombination rate in cows. Finally, we fitted a full model of recombination rate on all related factors, including genetics, maternal age, and environmental temperatures. Based on the final model, we confirmed the effect of maternal age and environmental temperature during conception on recombination rate with an estimated heritability of 10% in cattle. Collectively, we characterized the maternal age and temperature effects on recombination rate and suggested the adaptation of meiotic recombination to environmental stimuli in cattle. Our results provided first-hand information regarding the plastic nature of meiotic recombination in a mammalian species.