Genetic variation has been explored in sheep at genes which are candidates for a major effect on wool quality. Work has focussed on epidermal growth factor (EGF), acidic and basic fibroblast growth factor (aFGF and bFGF), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF1), keratinocyte growth factor (KGF), transforming growth factor (TGF) alpha and beta-1, and the c-myc and N- myc proto-oncogenes.
Twenty restriction enzymes were used to digest DNA from a number of unrelated sheep and Southern blots were screened for variation using 1 6 mouse/human clones as labelled probes covering 8 candidate genes. Polymorphisms have been detected as RFLPs with EGF, EGF- receptor, aFGF, TGFo, TGFySI, c-myc and N-myc clones. Variation was also investigated at a published microsatellite locus located 5 prime to IGF1. Large half-sibling families derived from super-fine wool Merino rams and strong wool Merino or Border Leicester ewes are currently being typed for polymorphisms detected using candidate gene markers and scored for average fibre diameter, variation in fibre diameter and fleece weight. Some difficulty has been experienced using heterologous cDNA clones as probes. Current work involves the cloning of sheep growth factor genes from a genomic cosmid library.

N. A Robinson, L. C Hygate, M. E Matthews

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 21. Gene mapping; polymorphisms; disease genetic markers; marker assisted selection; gene expression; transgenes; non-convention, , 90–93, 1994
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