Molecular Biology Reports

, Volume 41, Issue 10, pp 6967–6974 | Cite as

Melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) polymorphisms are associated with growth and meat quality traits in sheep

  • Beiyao Zuo
  • Guiqiong Liu
  • Yuqin Peng
  • Hongguang Qian
  • Jiasen Liu
  • Xunping Jiang
  • Adama Mara


The involvement of melanocortin 4 receptor gene (MC4R) in food intake and body weight regulation is well characterized. MC4R mutations are the most frequent monogenic cause of human obesity. Significant associations have been revealed between MC4R mutations and productive traits in pigs, cattle and poultry. Herein, fluorescence-based conformation sensitive gel electrophoresis was used to identify two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the coding region (93G>A and 292G>A) and two SNPs in the 3′-UTR area (1016G>A and 1240T>C) of MC4R gene in 132 German Merino sheep. We found that the 1016G>A mutation in the 3′-UTR was significantly associated with body weight at 120 and 180 days, average daily gain, back fat thickness and loin-eye area. Allele A located at the 292th position of MC4R gene representing Arg98 was associated with significantly higher loin-eye area in sheep. For the synonymous 93G>A mutation, A allele carrier animals had higher back fat thickness. Our results provide evidence that the MC4R gene may be a candidate gene for growth and meat quality traits with MC4R SNPs being potentially valuable as genetic markers for economic traits in German Merino sheep.


Melanocortin 4 receptor gene Sheep Single nucleotide polymorphisms Body weight Loin-eye area Average daily gain 



This work was was financially supported by the National Meat-type Sheep and Goat Industrial Technology System (CARS-39-1A). The kind cooperation of the workers in sampling is greatly acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beiyao Zuo
    • 2
  • Guiqiong Liu
    • 1
  • Yuqin Peng
    • 1
  • Hongguang Qian
    • 3
  • Jiasen Liu
    • 3
  • Xunping Jiang
    • 1
  • Adama Mara
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Animal Science and TechnologyHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanChina
  2. 2.Xinjiang Bazhou Livestock StationKorlaChina
  3. 3.Inner Mongolia Academy of Agriculture and Animal HusbandryHohhotChina

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