Whole-Genome SNP Association in the Horse: Identification of a Deletion in Myosin Va Responsible for Lavender Foal Syndrome
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Lavender Foal Syndrome (LFS) is a lethal inherited disease of horses with a suspected autosomal recessive mode of inheritance. LFS has been primarily diagnosed in a subgroup of the Arabian breed, the Egyptian Arabian horse. The condition is characterized by multiple neurological abnormalities and a dilute coat color. Candidate genes based on comparative phenotypes in mice and humans include the ras-associated protein RAB27a (RAB27A) and myosin Va (MYO5A). Here we report mapping of the locus responsible for LFS using a small set of 36 horses segregating for LFS. These horses were genotyped using a newly available single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) chip containing 56,402 discriminatory elements. The whole genome scan identified an associated region containing these two functional candidate genes. Exon sequencing of the MYO5A gene from an affected foal revealed a single base deletion in exon 30 that changes the reading frame and introduces a premature stop codon. A PCR-based Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) assay was designed and used to investigate the frequency of the mutant gene. All affected horses tested were homozygous for this mutation. Heterozygous carriers were detected in high frequency in families segregating for this trait, and the frequency of carriers in unrelated Egyptian Arabians was 10.3%. The mapping and discovery of the LFS mutation represents the first successful use of whole-genome SNP scanning in the horse for any trait. The RFLP assay can be used to assist breeders in avoiding carrier-to-carrier matings and thus in preventing the birth of affected foals.
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