Mapping of QTL affecting fur quality traits (guard hair length, guard hair thickness, density of wool, surface of the fur and quality) and skin length was performed in a three-generation mink population (F design). In the parental generation, Nordic Brown mink were crossed reciprocally with American Black short nap mink. In all, 1082 mink encompassing three generations were used for the analyses. The mink were genotyped for 104 microsatellites covering all 14 autosomes. The QTL analyses were performed by least-square regression implemented in gridqtl software. Genetic and phenotypic correlations and heritabilities were estimated using the average information-restricted maximum-likelihood method. Evidence was found for QTL affecting fur quality traits on nine autosomes. QTL were detected for guard hair thickness on chromosomes 1, 2, 3, 6 and 13; for guard hair length on chromosomes 2, 3 and 6; for wool density on chromosomes 6 and 13; for surface on chromosomes 7, 12 and 13; for quality on chromosomes 6, 7, 11 and 13; and for skin length on chromosomes 7 and 9. Proximity of locations of QTL for guard hair length, guard hair thickness and for wool density and quality suggests that some of the traits are in part under the influence of the same genes. Traits under the influence of QTL at close or identical positions also were traits that were strongly genotypically correlated. Based on the results of correlation analyses, the most important single traits influencing the quality were found to be density of wool, guard hair thickness and appearance of the surface.
Animal Genetics, 2014, Vol 45, Issue 1, p. 105-110