Eight Y chromosome genes show copy number variations in horses
Abstract. Copy number variations (CNVs), which represent a significant source of genetic diversity on the Y chromosome in mammals, have been shown to be associated with the development of many complex phenotypes, such as reproduction and male fertility. The occurrence of CNVs has been confirmed on the Y chromosome in horses. However, the copy numbers (CNs) of Equus caballus Y chromosome (ECAY) genes are largely unknown. To demonstrate the copy number variations of Y chromosome genes in horses, the quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) method was applied to measure the CNVs of the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 1A Y (EIF1AY), equine testis-specific transcript on Y 1 (ETSTY1), equine testis-specific transcript on Y 4 (ETSTY4), equine testis-specific transcript on Y 5 (ETSTY5), equine transcript Y4 (ETY4), ubiquitin activating enzyme Y (UBE1Y), sex determining region Y (SRY), and inverted repeat 2 Y (YIR2) across 14 Chinese domestic horse breeds in this study. Our results revealed that these eight genes were multi-copy; furthermore, some of the well acknowledged single-copy genes such as SRY and EIF1AY were found to be multi-copy in this research. The median copy numbers (MCNs) varied among different breeds for the same gene. The CNVs of Y chromosome genes showed different distribution patterns among Chinese horse breeds, indicating the impact of natural selection on copy numbers. Our results will provide fundamental information for future functional studies.