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    Bilateral convergent strabismus with exophthalmos (BCSE) is a malformation of the eyes and is recognized as a mild but progressive disorder that affects cattle in the first two years of life. This most likely inherited disorder is rarely described in cattle resembling autosomal dominantly inherited forms of human progressive external ophthalmoplegia (PEO). In German Braunvieh cattle, two linked genome regions were found that could be responsible for the development and/or progression of BCSE. The goal of this study was to phenotypically characterize BCSE in Holstein cattle from Germany and Switzerland as well as to identify associated genome regions by GWAS. The clinicopathological phenotype of 52 BCSE-affected Holstein cattle was in accordance with the phenotype described in German Braunvieh cattle, but in addition, signs of degeneration and cellular infiltration in the eye muscles were found. By using imputed sequence level genotype data, three genome-wide significant GWAS hits were revealed on different chromosomes that were not detected by initial GWAS based on high density SNP array data highlighting the usefulness of this approach for mapping studies. The associated genome regions include the ABCC4 gene as well as markers adjacent to the NCOR2 and DNAJC3 genes all illustrating possible functional candidate genes. Our results challenge a monogenic mode of inheritance and indicate a more complex inheritance of BCSE in Holstein cattle. Furthermore, in comparison to previous results from German Braunvieh cattle, it illustrates an obvious genetic heterogeneity causing BSCE in cattle. Subsequent whole genome sequencing (WGS)-based analyses might elucidate pathogenic variants in the future.


    Anke Bögeholz, Clemens Falker-Gieske, Monika Guélat, Corinne Gurtner, Sibylle Hunziker, Anna Oevermann, Georg Thaller, Cord Drögemüller, Jens Tetens. GWAS Hits for Bilateral Convergent Strabismus with Exophthalmos in Holstein Cattle Using Imputed Sequence Level Genotypes. Genes. 2021 Jul 04;12(7)

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    PMID: 34356055

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