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Federico Ponce de Leon
University of Minnesota
September 1, 2021 – August 31, 2023
Alpacas, native to South America, are of increasing economic importance in US. They are also rapidly gaining popularity around the world due to their valuable fiber and gentle temperament. Alpacas present diverse colors and two breeds: Huacaya with short fluffy fleece and Suri with draping locks of lustrous silky fiber. The genes that control the variation in color and fiber type, as well as other traits of productive interest in alpacas are still little understood.
Structural variations (SVs) include the loss, gain or change of orientation of genome fragments ranging from 50 bp to huge regions of millions of bp, encompassing several genes. Due to their size, they contribute more than single nucleotide variation to animal diversity, evolution and disease. The objective of this work is to find SVs in the genome of phenotypically diverse alpacas and to identify the genes affected by them. It will help to accelerate the discovery of the genetic variations responsible for important traits for the alpaca breeders, such as color and type of fiber, fertility and resistance or susceptibility to diseases.