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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Nutrition, Growth and Physiology » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #388028

Research Project: Improve Nutrient Management and Efficiency of Beef Cattle and Swine

Location: Nutrition, Growth and Physiology

Title: Genes involved in feed efficiency identified in a meta-analysis of rumen tissue from two populations of beef steers

item Lindholm-Perry, Amanda
item MEYER, ALLISON - University Of Missouri
item KERN-LUNBERY, REBECCA - Ward Laboratories
item CUNNINGHAM-HOLLINGER, HANNAH - University Of Wyoming
item Funk, Taran
item Keel, Brittney

Submitted to: Animals
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/7/2022
Publication Date: 6/10/2022
Citation: Lindholm-Perry, A.K., Meyer, A.M., Kern-Lunbery, R.J., Cunningham-Hollinger, H.C., Funk, T.H., Keel, B.N. 2022. Genes involved in feed efficiency identified in a meta-analysis of rumen tissue from two populations of beef steers. Animals. 12(12). Article 1514.

Interpretive Summary: The rumen makes up a large portion of the digestive tract of beef cattle and is responsible for the absorption of nutrients and microbial by-products. The rumen papillae interact with feed, microbial populations, and fermentation products important to cattle nutrition. Variation in the animal’s ability to take up and utilize these nutrients affects feed efficiency. This study was performed to identify genes involved in feed efficiency that are expressed in two unrelated and physically distant populations of Angus and Hereford crossbred steers. A total of 38 genes were identified that may be useful indicators of feed efficiency in cattle. Genes with different expression levels based on feed efficiency status that are involved in a pathway involved in stomach cell turnover were identified. The use of two populations of cattle with different sire lines, management and handling techniques, and feed ingredients should allow the identification genes that are involved in feed efficiency across cattle populations rather than those identified in only one cohort of animals.

Technical Abstract: In cattle, the rumen is an important site for absorption of feed by-products released by bacterial fermentation, and variation in ruminal function plays a role in cattle feed efficiency. Studies evaluating gene expression in the rumen tissue have been performed prior to this; however, validating the expression of genes identified in additional cattle populations has been challenging. The purpose of this study was to perform a meta-analysis of the ruminal transcriptome of two unrelated populations of animals to identify genes that are involved in feed efficiency across populations. RNA-seq data from animals with high and low residual feed intake (RFI) from a United States population of cattle (8 high and 8 low RFI) and a Canadian population of cattle (9 high and 9 low RFI) were analyzed for differences in gene expression. A total of 83 differentially expressed genes were identified. Some of these genes have been previously identified in other feed efficiency studies. These genes included ATP6AP1, BAG6, RHOG, and YPEL3. Differentially expressed genes involved in the Notch signaling pathway and in protein turnover were also identified. This study, combining two unrelated populations of cattle in a meta-analysis, produced several candidate genes for feed efficiency that may be more robust indicators of feed efficiency than those identified from single populations of animals.