Comparative transcriptome and histological analyses provide insights into the skin pigmentation in Minxian black fur sheep (Ovis aries)

The results demonstrated that enrichment analysis of differentially expressed genes can define their biological function and narrowed the number of candidate genes that may regulate skin

Xiaolei Shi; Jianping Wu; Xia Lang; Cailian Wang; Yan Bai; David Greg Riley; Lishan Liu; Xiaoming Ma


Scholarcy highlights

  • Sheep are important fiber and fur producing domestic animals
  • Histological examination and analysis of the skin from two sheep breeds showed that the skin structure of Minxian black fur sheep is similar to that of Small-tail Han sheep, with the exception of the melanin and the thickness of the dermis
  • The skin samples were thinner than samples taken from white Small-tail Han sheep
  • A set of candidate genes that regulated melanin biosynthesis, including TYR, TYRP1, dopachrome tautomerase, dopa decarboxylase, melanocortin 1 receptor, COA 2 and frizzled class receptor 2 were identified as differentially expressed in Minxian black fur sheep skin samples
  • These genes appear to be integral for melanin synthesis through the melanogenesis and tyrosine metabolism signaling processes
  • Clean data were obtained by removing reads containing adapters, reads containing over 10% of poly-N, and low-quality reads
  • Additional skin characterization of the Minxian black fur sheep may present the opportunity to clarify the genetic control of pigmentation

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