Genetic Polymorphism in Prolactin Gene and its Association with Reproductive Traits in Japanese Quail (Coturnix japonica)

Document Type: Original Paper


Faculty of Animal Science, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran.


The present  study  was carried out to investigate the polymorphism of intron 3 to exon 3 of prolactin gene containing 24 bpindel at nucleotide position (np)  358 and its association with some reproductive traits in Japanese quail. These traits consisted of weight (WSM) and age at sexual maturity (ASM), mean egg weight at 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 2-6th weeks (MEW), and the number of eggs during the 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 2-6th weeks of laying period (EN). Blood samples of 194 Japanese quail at 13wk of age were collected randomly. DNA was extracted from blood samples and amplified. The association of prolactin genotypes with reproductive traits was analyzed using  the general linear model procedure of SAS software. A 24-bp indel[insertion (I) or deletion  (D)]  at np358 was identified.  Based on the results obtained, the frequency of I and D alleles were  0.52 and  0.48, respectively. Frequencies of II, ID and DD genotypes were 0.10, 0.85 and  0.05, respectively. Genotypes II and ID were significantly associated with increased EN (P0.05). The results showed that prolactin gene polymorphism could be used to improve egg production in Japanese quail through marker-assisted selection.


Alipanah M, Shojaian K & Bandani HK. 2011. The polymorphism of prolactin gene in native chicken Zabol region. Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances, 10: 619-621.

Boom R, Sol CJ, Salimans M, Jansen CL, Wertheim-van Dillen PME & Van der Noordaa J.  1990. Rapid and simple method for purification of nucleic acids. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 28: 495-503.

Cui JX, Du HL, Liang Y, Deng XM, Li N & Zhang XQ.  2006. Association of polymorphisms in the promoter region of chicken prolactin with egg production. Poultry Science, 85: 26-31.

Day RN, Voss TC, Enwright JF, Booker CF, Periasamy A & Schaufele F.  2003. Imaging the localized protein interactions between Pit-1 and the CCAAT/enhancer binding protein alpha in the living pituitary cell nucleus. Molecular Endocrinology, 17: 333-345.

Emamgholi Begli H, Zerehdaran S, Hassani S, Abbasi MA & Ahmadi AK.  2010. Polymorphism in prolactin and PEPCK-C genes and its association with conomic traits in native fowl of Yazd province. Iranian Journal of
Biotechnology, 8: 172-177.

Enwright JF, Kawecki-Crook MA, Voss TC, Schaufele F & Day RN. 2003. A PIT-1 homeodomain mutant blocks the intranuclear recruitment of the CCAAT/ enhancer binding protein α required for prolactin gene transcription. Molecular Endocrinology, 17: 209-222.

Fang DA, Geng ZY, Zhang XR & Tao Y. 2005. Studies on the role of hypothalamic dopamine and  5-hydroxy tryptamine in modulation broodiness in Wanxi goose. China Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine. 7: 35-37.

Frisch A, Michaelovsky E, Rockah R, Amir I, Hermesh H, Laor N, Fuchs C, Zohar J, Lerer B & Buniak SF, Landa S, Poyurovsky M, Shapira B & Weizman R  . 2000. Association between obsessive-compulsive disorder and polymorphisms of genes encoding components of the serotonergic and dopaminergic pathways. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 10: 205-209.

Hall MR. 1991. Endocrinological and behavioral changes associated with the onset of incubation in the duck. Physiology and Behavior, 50: 311-316.

Hall, MR.  1987. External stimuli affecting incubation behavior and prolactin secretion in the duck (Anas platyrhynchos). Hormones and Behavior, 21: 269-287.

Jiang RS, Xu GY, Zhang XQ & Yang N.  2005. Association of polymorphisms for prolactin and prolactin receptor genes with broody traits in chickens. Poultry Science, 84: 839-845.

Kansaku N, Hiyama G, Sasanami T & Zadworny D.  2008. Prolactin and growth hormone in birds: Protein structure, gene structure and genetic variation. oultry Science, 45: 1-6.

Kurima K, Proudman JA, El Halawani ME & Wong EA. 1995. The turkey prolactin-encoding gene and its regulatory region. Gene, 156:309-310.

Li HF, Zhu WQ, Chen KW, Zhang TJ & Song WT.  2009. Association of polymorphisms in the intron 1 of duck prolactin with egg performance. Turkish Journal of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, 33: 193-197.  

Liang Y, Cui J, Yang G, Leung FC & Zhang X. 2006. Polymorphisms of 5′ flanking region of chicken prolactin gene. Domestic Animal Endocrinology, 30: 1-16.

Maurer RA & Notides AC. 1987. Identification of an estrogen-responsive element from the  5'-flanking region of the rat  prolactin gene. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 7: 4247-4254.

Rashidi H, Rahimi-Mianji G, Farhadi A & Gholizadeh M.  2012. Association of prolactin and prolactin receptor gene poly-morphisms with economic traits in breeder hens of indigenous chickens of Mazandaran province. Iranian Journal of Biotechnology, 10: 129-135.

Reddy IJ, David CG, Sarma PV & Singh K. 2002. The possible role of prolactin in laying performance and steroid hormone  secretion in domestic hen (Gallus domesticus). General and Comparative Endocrinology, 127: 249-255.

eddy IJ, David CG & Raju SS. 2006. Chemical control of prolactin secretion and it's effects on pause days, egg production and steroid hormone concentration in Girirani birds. International Journal of Poultry Science, 5: 685-692.  
SAS (Statistical Analysis System).  2001. SAS/STAT®  8.2. User,s Guide. SAS Institute Inc. Cary, NC.

Sharp PJ, Macnamee MC, Sterling RJ, Lea RW & Pedersen HC. 1988. Relationships between prolactin, LH and broody behaviour in bantam hens. Journal of Endocrinology, 118: 279-286.

Shimada K, Ishida H, Sato K, Seo H & Matsui N. 1991. Expression of prolactin gene in incubating hens. Journal of Reproduction and Fertility, 91: 147-154.  

Sockman KW, Schwabl H & Sharp PJ. 2000. The role of prolactin in the regulation of clutch size and onset of incubation behavior in the American kestrel. Hormones and Behavior, 38: 168-176.  

Watahiki M, Tanaka M, Masuda N, Sugisaki K, Yamamoto M, Yamakawa M, Nagai J & Nakashima K. 1989. Primary structure of chicken pituitary prolactin deduced from the cDNA sequence. Conserved and specific amino acid residues in the domains of the prolactins. Journal of Biological Chemistry,  264: 5535-5539.

 Wong EA, Ferrin NH, Silsby JL & El Halawani ME.  1991. Cloning of a turkey prolactin cDNA: Expression of prolactin mRNA throughout the reproductive cycle of the domestic turkey (Meleagris gallopavo). General and  Comparative
Endocrinology, 83: 18-26.

Yeh FC, Yang RC, Boyle TB, Ye ZH & Mao JX. 1997. POPGENE, the user-friendly shareware for population genetic analysis. Molecular  Biology and Biotechnology Centre. University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

Please cite this article as: Lotfi E, Zerehdaran S, Ahani Azari M & Dehnavi E. 2013. Genetic polymorphism in prolactin gene and its association with reproductive traits in Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica). Poult. Sci. J. 1 (2): 79-85.