Association analysis of polymorphism in the NR6A1 gene with the lumbar vertebrae number traits in sheep

  • Xiangyu Zhang
  • Cunyuan Li
  • Xiaoyue Li
  • Zhijin Liu
  • Wei NiEmail author
  • Yang Cao
  • Yang Yao
  • Esenbay Islamov
  • Junchang Wei
  • Xiaoxu Hou
  • Shengwei HuEmail author
Research Article



The vertebral number is an economically significant trait, which is associated with body length and carcass traits. Nuclear Receptor Subfamily 6, Group A, Member 1 (NR6A1) is a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily and it plays an important role in the early development of embryos.


The NR6A1 gene was considered as an important candidate for influence vertebrae number, while the potential associations between this gene and the number of lumbar vertebrae traits of sheep have not been explored.


In this study, we detected the genetic variants of NR6A1 gene and analyzed the associations of the polymorphisms with lumbar number traits in 130 Kazakh sheep. We use single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) technique to detect single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) of NR6A1 gene, and the association of the genotype and lumbar number variation was analyzed by independent Chi-square test.


We detect SNP of NR6A1 gene by PCR-SSCP technique, and polymorphisms were only found in the coding region of exon-6 and exon-8 of NR6A1 gene. In order to investigate the connection between the SNP locus and lumbar number traits in sheep, we conducted a Chi-square test for independence for exon-6 and exon-8 of NR6A1 gene, respectively. Association analysis revealed significant associations between the SNP (rs414302710: A >C) in the exon-8 of NR6A1 gene with the number of lumbar vertebrae (P < 0.01).


Our study indicated that this SNP (rs414302710: A>C) locus of exon-8 of NR6A1 gene in sheep possible influence the number of lumbar vertebrae, which has the potential to be applied in selective breeding of sheep.


NR6A1 gene SSCP SNP Lumbar vertebrae 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (31660644, 31460037 and 31660718), Young innovative talents (CXRC201603 and 2016BC001), the Recruitment Program of Global Young Experts (1000Plan).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© The Genetics Society of Korea 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Animal Genetic Engineering Laboratory, College of Life SciencesShihezi UniversityShiheziChina
  2. 2.Kazakh National Agrarian UniversityAlmatyRepublic of Kazakhstan

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