Litter size is an important economic trait in the mutton sheep industry. BMP15 is one of the key candidate genes for litter size in sheep. In this study, the entire ORF region of BMP15 was sequenced in 154 Luzhong mutton ewes, and the novel variations were determined. The association between polymorphism in BMP15 and litter size was analyzed using a general linear model. Six out of a total of thirteen variations were identified to be novel. Association analysis indicated that four (SNPs ENSOART00000010201.1:c.352+342C>A, c.352+1232T>C, c.352+1165A>G and c.353-2036T>A) were significantly associated with litter size. The joint analysis among three major genes (BMP15, BMPR1B and GDF9) exhibited significant interaction effects in three combinations (FecB and c.352+1232T>C of BMP15; FecB and c.352+1165A>G of BMP15; c.352+342C>A of BMP15 and ENSOART00000014382.1:c.994G>A of GDF9). For the SNPs c.352+1232T>C and c.352+342C>A, the global distribution of allele frequencies showed that the highest variation frequency occurs in Western Europe. In conclusion, the results demonstrated that BMP15 is a major gene for litter size in Luzhong mutton sheep and candidate SNPs associated with litter size were identified.
- Litter size