Transcriptome analyses of liver tissue in Charolais beef cattle with divergent marbling phenotypes


Marbling is an economically important trait to the beef industry. In this study, we conducted transcriptome analysis of liver tissues between 6 high and 6 low marbling Charolais steers. Using a threshold of false discovery rate (FDR) <0.05 and fold change (FC) >2, 40 differentially expressed (DE) genes were identified with 26 genes downregulated and 14 genes upregulated in high marbling animals. TMEM45A was identified as the most downregulated (log2(FC) = -11.574) gene, whereas SERPINA3 was the most upregulated gene (log2(FC) = 6.071). For the identified DE genes, 25 biological functions were found to be enriched, including molecular transport, protein synthesis, lipid metabolism, small molecule biochemistry, and vitamin and mineral metabolism as the most enriched functions. Based on the gene expression level of the identified DE genes, steers with more marbling were predicted to have downregulated liver lipid biosynthesis and relatively upregulated lipid concentration. The results may lead to a better understanding of the genetic mechanisms that regulate marbling in beef cattle.

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