The Identification and Characterization of Copy Number Variants in the Bovine Genome
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Separate domestication events and strong selective pressures have created diverse phenotypes among existing cattle populations; however, the genetic determinants underlying most phenotypes are currently unknown. Bos taurus taurus (Bos taurus) and Bos taurus indicus (Bos indicus) cattle are subspecies of domesticated cattle that are characterized by unique morphological and metabolic traits. Because of their divergence, they are ideal model systems to understand the genetic basis of phenotypic variation. Here, we developed DNA and structural variant maps of cattle genomes representing the Bos taurus and Bos indicus breeds. Using this data, we identified genes under selection and biological processes enriched with functional coding variants between the two subspecies. Furthermore, we examined genetic variation at functional non-coding regions, which were identified through epigenetic profiling of indicative histone- and DNA-methylation modifications. Copy number variants, which were frequently not imputed by flanking or tagged SNPs, represented the largest source of genetic divergence between the subspecies, with almost half of the variants present at coding regions. We identified a number of divergent genes and biological processes between Bos taurus and Bos indicus cattle; however, the extent of functional coding variation was relatively small compared to that of functional non-coding variation. Collectively, our findings suggest that copy number and functional non-coding variants may play an important role in regulating phenotypic variation among cattle breeds and subspecies.
Doan, Ryan (2013). The Identification and Characterization of Copy Number Variants in the Bovine Genome. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from