An atlas of CNV maps in cattle, goat and sheep


Copy number variation (CNV) is the most prevalent type of genetic structural variation that has been recognized as an important source of phenotypic variation in humans, animals and plants. However, the mechanisms underlying the evolution of CNVs and their function in natural or artificial selection remain unknown. Here, we generated CNV region (CNVR) datasets which were diverged or shared among cattle, goat, and sheep, including 886 individuals from 171 diverse populations. Using 9 environmental factors for genome-wide association study (GWAS), we identified a series of candidate CNVRs, including genes relating to immunity, tick resistance, multi-drug resistance, and muscle development. The number of CNVRs shared between species is significantly higher than expected (P<0.00001), and these CNVRs may be more persist than the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) shared between species. We also identified genomic regions under long-term balancing selection and uncovered the potential diversity of the selected CNVRs close to the important functional genes. This study provides the evidence that balancing selection might be more common in mammals than previously considered, and might play an important role in the daily activities of these ruminant species.

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Science China Life Sciences