Genetics Selection Evolution (Jan 2021)

A publicly available repository of ROH islands reveals signatures of selection in different livestock and pet species

  • Wim Gorssen,
  • Roel Meyermans,
  • Steven Janssens,
  • Nadine Buys

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 53, no. 1
pp. 1 – 10


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Abstract Background Runs of homozygosity (ROH) have become the state-of-the-art method for analysis of inbreeding in animal populations. Moreover, ROH are suited to detect signatures of selection via ROH islands and are used in other applications, such as genomic prediction and genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Currently, a vast amount of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data is available online, but most of these data have never been used for ROH analysis. Therefore, we performed a ROH analysis on large medium-density SNP datasets in eight animal species (cat, cattle, dog, goat, horse, pig, sheep and water buffalo; 442 different populations) and make these results publicly available. Results The results include an overview of ROH islands per population and a comparison of the incidence of these ROH islands among populations from the same species, which can assist researchers when studying other (livestock) populations or when looking for similar signatures of selection. We were able to confirm many known ROH islands, for example signatures of selection for the myostatin (MSTN) gene in sheep and horses. However, our results also included multiple other ROH islands, which are common to many populations and not identified to date (e.g. on chromosomes D4 and E2 in cats and on chromosome 6 in sheep). Conclusions We are confident that our repository of ROH islands is a valuable reference for future studies. The discovered ROH island regions represent a unique starting point for new studies or can be used as a reference for future studies. Furthermore, we encourage authors to add their population-specific ROH findings to our repository.