Free Access
Genet. Sel. Evol.
Volume 39, Number 3, May-June 2007
Page(s) 341 - 352
Published online 14 April 2007
Genet. Sel. Evol. 39 (2007) 341-352
DOI: 10.1051/gse:2007007

Extensive intragenic recombination and patterns of linkage disequilibrium at the CSN3 locus in European rabbit

Miguel Carneiro and Nuno Ferrand

CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, Campus Agrário de Vairão, 4485-661 Vairão, and Departamento de Zoologia e Antropologia, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto, 4099-002 Porto, Portugal

(Received 30 August 2006; accepted 20 November 2006; published online 14 April 2007)

Abstract - Kappa-casein (CSN3) plays an important role in stabilising the Ca-sensitive caseins in the micelle. The European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) CSN3 has previously been shown to possess two alleles (A and B), which differ deeply in their intronic regions (indels of 100 and 1550 nucleotides in introns 1 and 4, respectively). Furthermore, a correlation between several reproductive performance traits and the different alleles was described. However, all these data were exclusively collected in rabbit domestic breeds, preventing a deeper understanding of the extensive polymorphism observed in the CSN3 gene. Additionally, the techniques available for the typing of both indel polymorphisms were until now not suitable for large-scale studies. In this report, we describe a simple, PCR-based typing method to distinguish rabbit CSN3 alleles. We analyse both ancient wild rabbit populations from the Iberian Peninsula and France, and the more recently derived English wild rabbits and domestic stocks. A new allele (C) showing another major indel (250 bp) in intron 1 was found, but exclusively detected in Iberian wild rabbits. In addition, our survey revealed the occurrence of new haplotypes in wild populations, suggesting that intragenic recombination is important in creating genetic diversity at this locus. This easy and low cost single-step PCR-based method results in an improvement over previous described techniques, can be easily set up in a routine molecular laboratory and would probably be a valuable tool in the management of rabbit domestic breeds.

Key words: European rabbit / CSN3 gene / indel polymorphism / intragenic recombination / linkage disequilibrium

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2007