Analysis of pooled genome sequences from Djallonke and Sahelian sheep of Ghana reveals co-localisation of regions of reduced heterozygosity with candidate genes for disease resistance and adaptation to a tropical environment
BACKGROUND:The Djallonke sheep is well adapted to harsh environmental conditions, and is relatively resistant to Haemonchosis and resilient to animal trypanosomiasis. The larger Sahelian sheep, which cohabit the same region, is less well adapted to these disease challenges. Haemonchosis and Trypanosomiasis collectively cost the worldwide animal industry billions of dollars in production losses annually. RESULTS:Here, we separately sequenced and then pooled according to breed the genomes from five unrelated individuals from each of the Djallonke and Sahelian sheep breeds (sourced from Ghana), at greater than 22-fold combined coverage for each breed. A total of approximately 404 million (97%) and 343 million (97%) sequence reads from the Djallonke and Sahelian breeds respectively, were successfully mapped to the sheep reference genome Oar v3.1. We identified approximately 11.1 million and 10.9 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the Djallonke and Sahelian breeds, with approximately 15 and 16% respectively of these not previously reported in sheep. Multiple regions of reduced heterozygosity were also found; 70 co-localised within genomic regions harbouring genes that mediate disease resistance, immune response and adaptation in sheep or cattle. Thirty- three of the regions of reduced heterozygosity co-localised with previously reported genes for resistance to haemonchosis and trypanosomiasis. CONCLUSIONS:Our analyses suggest that these regions of reduced heterozygosity may be signatures of selection for these economically important diseases.