Leptin is an important hormone in controlling food intake and energy expenditure in mammalian species. The present study evaluated levels of serum leptin in Coopworth sheep selected for and against subcutaneous fat depth for 10 generations. Significant differences in serum leptin concentrations were found between fat and lean sheep (P<0.05) and between male and female sheep (P<0.01). Serum leptin concentration was positively correlated with carcass fatness and there was a clear relationship between mean progeny serum leptin concentrations and the breeding value for fat. Serum leptin concentrations were greater (P<0.05) in lambs selected from the fat line (2.69ng/ml) than in lambs selected from the lean line (2.18ng/ml). A microsatellite marker, OarCP26, already mapped on sheep chromosome 4 (OAR4) was located in a sheep yeast artificial chromosome (YAC) clone that was positive for the leptin gene (LEP). This confirmed the independent assignment of LEP, mapped using a sheep cell hybrid panel, to OAR4. No significant differences in the allele frequencies of OarCP26 and two other flanking markers (TGLA116 and OarHH335) were detected in the lean and fat selection lines suggesting genes other than leptin are causing the differences in fat between the lean and fat Coopworth lines.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 63, Queenstown, 176-178, 2003
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