Association between Melatonin Receptor 1A Gene and Expression of Reproductive Seasonality in Sheep

Chu, M.X.;Cheng, D.X.;Liu, W.Z.;Fang, L.;Ye, S.C.

  • Received : 2005.09.26
  • Accepted : 2006.03.15
  • Published : 2006.08.01


To determine whether a link exists between reproductive seasonality and the structure of the melatonin receptor 1A (MTNR1A) gene, the latter was studied in nonseasonal estrous breeds (Small Tail Han and Hu ewes) and seasonal estrous breeds (Dorset, Suffolk and German Mutton Merino ewes). A large fragment of the exon 2 of the MTNR1A gene was amplified and a uniform fragment of 824 bp was obtained in 239 ewes of five breeds. The 824 bp PCR product was digested with restriction endonucleases Mnl I and Rsa I, and checked for the presence of restriction sites. The presence (allele M) or absence (allele m) of an Mnl I site at base position 605 led to three genotypes MM (236 bp/236 bp), Mm (236 bp/303 bp) and mm (303 bp/303 bp) in five sheep breeds. The presence (allele R) or absence (allele r) of a Rsa I site at base position 604 led to three genotypes RR (267 bp/267 bp), Rr (267 bp/290 bp) and rr (290 bp/290 bp) in five sheep breeds. Frequencies of MM and RR genotypes were obviously higher, and frequencies of mm and rr genotypes were obviously lower in nonseasonal estrous sheep breeds than in seasonal estrous sheep breeds. Sequencing revealed four mutations (G453T, G612A, G706A, C891T) in mm genotype compared to MM genotype and one mutation (C606T) in rr genotype compared to RR genotype. For polymorphic Mnl I and Rsa I cleavage sites, the differences of genotype distributions were very highly significant (p<0.01) between Small Tail Han ewes and seasonal estrous sheep breeds. In each group, no significant difference (p>0.05) was detected. These results preliminarily showed an association between MM, RR genotypes and nonseasonal estrus in ewes and an association between mm, rr genotypes and seasonal estrus in ewes.


Sheep;Reproductive Seasonality;Melatonin Receptor 1A Gene;PCR-RFLP


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Supported by : National Natural Science Foundation of China