Genome Integrity and Instability: “Whole genome sequencing identifies Allelic Ratio Distortion in sperm involving genes related to spermatogenesis in a swine model”




Transmission Ratio Distortion (TRD), the uneven transmission of an allele from a parent to its offspring, can be caused by allelic differences affecting gametogenesis, fertilization or embryogenesis. However, TRD remains vaguely studied at a genomic scale. We sequenced the diploid and haploid genomes of 3 boars from leukocytes and spermatozoa at 50x to shed light into the genetic basis of spermatogenesis-caused Allelic Ratio Distortion (ARD). We first developed a binomial model to identify ARD by simultaneously analysing all three males. This led to the identification of 55 ARD SNPs, most of which were animal-specific. We then evaluated ARD individually within each pig by a Fisher Exact Test and identified 2 shared genes (TOP3A and UNC5B) and 4 shared genomic regions harbouring distinct ARD SNPs in the 3 boars. The shared genomic regions contained candidate genes with functions related to spermatogenesis including AK7, ARID4B, BDKRB2, GSK3B, NID1, NSMCE1, PALB2, VRK1 and ZC3H13. Using the Fisher Test, we also identified 378 genes containing variants with protein damaging potential in at least one boar, a high proportion of which, including FAM120B, TDRD15, JAM2 or AOX4 among others, are associated to spermatogenesis. Overall, our results show that sperm is subjected to ARD with variants associated to a wide variety of genes involved in different stages of spermatogenesis.