Genetic analysis of a rat model of aerobic capacity and metabolic fitness Article (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • Ren, Yu-Yu Y; Overmyer, K A; Qi, Nathan R; Treutelaar, Mary K; Heckenkamp, Lori; Kalahar, Molly; Koch, Lauren G; Britton, Steven L; Burant, Charles F; Li, Jun Z


  • Aerobic capacity is a strong predictor of all-cause mortality and can influence many complex traits. To explore the biological basis underlying this connection, we developed via artificial selection two rat lines that diverge for intrinsic (i.e. inborn) aerobic capacity and differ in risk for complex disease traits. Here we conduct the first in-depth pedigree and molecular genetic analysis of these lines, the high capacity runners (HCR) and low capacity runners (LCR). Our results show that both HCR and LCR lines maintain considerable narrow-sense heritability (h(2)) for the running capacity phenotype over 28 generations (h(2) = 0.47 ± 0.02 and 0.43 ± 0.02, respectively). To minimize inbreeding, the lines were maintained by rotational mating. Pedigree records predict that the inbreeding coefficient increases at a rate of <1% per generation, ~37-38% slower than expected for random mating. Genome-wide 10K SNP genotype data for generations 5, 14, and 26 demonstrate substantial genomic evolution: between-line differentiation increased progressively, while within-line diversity deceased. Genome-wide average heterozygosity decreased at a rate of <1% per generation, consistent with pedigree-based predictions and confirming the effectiveness of rotational breeding. Linkage disequilibrium index r(2) decreases to 0.3 at ~3 Mb, suggesting that the resolution for mapping quantitative trait loci (QTL) can be as high as 2-3 cM. To establish a test population for QTL mapping, we conducted an HCR-LCR intercross. Running capacity of the F1 population (n=176) was intermediate of the HCR and LCR parentals (28 pairs); and the F2 population (n=645) showed a wider range of phenotypic distribution. Importantly, heritability in the F0-F2 pedigree remained high (h(2)~0.6). These results suggest that the HCR-LCR lines can serve as a valuable system for studying genomic evolution, and a powerful resource for mapping QTL for a host of characters relevant to human health.

publication date

  • 2013

published in

start page

  • e77588


  • 8