Multi-copy gene families are especially prevalent in the male-specific region (MSY) of the mammalian Y chromosome. Copy number variations (CNV) of these Y-linked gene families have been shown to affect human and animal fertility. The PRAMEY (Preferentially expressed antigen in melanoma, Y-linked) gene family is a newly identified, bovid-specific Y-linked gene family, which codes for a cancer/testis antigen that is expressed predominantly in testis and various tumors. The PRAMEY gene family is believed to play an important role in spermatogenesis and male fertility in cattle. The objective of this study was to investigate the CNV of PRAMEY within and across breeds and to determine whether CNV was associated with reproductive traits in Holstein bulls. A quantitative real-time PCR method was applied to measure the copy number of PRAMEY among 460 bulls using a Y-linked single copy gene, DDX3Y (DEAD box polypeptide 3, Y-linked), as a reference. The median copy number of PRAMEY was 13, ranging from 2 to 31. Significant variations in PRAMEY copy number were observed among 15 breeds investigated. Holstein bulls had the lowest median copy number (12), whereas Limousin bulls possessed the highest median copy number (26). Furthermore, bulls in the taurine lineage (13) had a significantly lower median copy number than those bulls in the indicine lineage (20). Association analysis revealed that PRAMEY copy number was correlated negatively with scrotal circumference (SC), relative scrotal circumference (RLSC), percentage of normal sperm (PNS), and nonreturn rate (NRR), but had no significant association with postthaw motility (PTM), incubated motility (IM), percentage of intact acrosome (PIA), sire conception rate (SCR), or relative breeding efficiency (RBE). The data from this study indicate that CNV of the PRAMEY gene family is associated with male reproductive traits and may serve as a valuable marker for sire fertility selection at an early age in cattle.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology