SEQUENCE AND POLYMORPHISM ANALYSIS OF THE CAMEL (CAMELUS DROMEDARIUS) MYOSTATIN GENE
Myostatin (MSTN), a negative regulator of skeletal muscle development in mammals, represents a key target for genetic investigations in meat-producing animals, with mutations responsible for increased skeletal-muscle mass currently described in several livestock species. Dromedary camels play a major economic role as suppliers of meat for human consumption across several countries. Notwithstanding, a comprehensive characterization of the sequence variability at the Camelus dromedarius MSTN locus was still lacking. Here we present the first extensive sequence and polymorphism analysis of the MSTN gene in the C. dromedarius species. Out of more than 3.6 kb of nucleotide sequence screened on 22 animals from 3 different Northern African regions, only 3 variant sites in the first intron were detected. The low observed diversity may reflect the evolutionary history of the species, likely developed as domesticates from a low variable wild ancestor population. Sequence identity among C. dromedarius and other Cetartiodactyla highlighted a tree topology consistent with previous reports of a closer relationship between Tylopoda and Suiformes. A close similarity between C. ferus and C. dromedarius was observed within Tylopoda. A markedly higher sequence identity between C. dromedarius and the other vertebrate species was observed at the MSTN locus compared to other genes, thus confirming it as a highly conserved target across mammals.