Genome-Wide Association Studies of Somatic Cell Count in the Assaf Breed.
A genome-wide association study (GWAS) was performed to identify new single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and genes associated with mastitis resistance in Assaf sheep by using the Illumina Ovine Infinium® HD SNP BeadChip (680K). In total, 6173 records from 1894 multiparous Assaf ewes with at least three test day records and aged between 2 and 7 years old were used to estimate a corrected phenotype for somatic cell score (SCS). Then, 192 ewes were selected from the top (n = 96) and bottom (n = 96) tails of the corrected SCS phenotype distribution to be used in a GWAS. Although no significant SNPs were found at the genome level, four SNPs (rs419096188, rs415580501, rs410336647, and rs424642424) were significant at the chromosome level (FDR 10%) in two different regions of OAR19. The SNP rs419096188 was located in intron 1 of the NUP210 and close to the HDAC11 genes (61 kb apart), while the other three SNPs were totally linked and located 171 kb apart from the ARPP21 gene. These three genes were related to the immune system response. These results were validated in two SNPs (rs419096188 and rs424642424) in the total population (n = 1894) by Kompetitive Allele-Specific PCR (KASP) genotyping. Furthermore, rs419096188 was also associated with lactose content.