Adiponectin plays an important role in energy homeostasis and metabolism in mammalian adipose tissue. In this study, the relationship between adiponectin gene (ADIPOQ) haplotypes and variation in growth and carcass traits in New Zealand (NZ) Romney lambs was investigated using General Linear Models (GLMs). Eight haplotypes were found in these lambs and they were composed of the four previously reported promoter fragment sequences (A1–D1) and three previously reported intron 2–exon 3 sequences (A3–C3). The frequencies of the haplotypes ranged from 0.07% to 45.91%. The presence of A1–A3 was associated with a decreased pre-weaning growth rate (p = 0.037), and decreased leg lean-meat yield (p = 0.001), loin lean-meat yield (p = 0.018) and total lean-meat yield (p = 0.004). The presence of A1–C3 was associated with increased carcass fat depth over the 12th rib (V-GR; p = 0.001) and a decreased proportion of loin lean-meat yield (p = 0.045). The presence of B1–A3 was associated with an increased proportion of leg lean-meat yield (p = 0.016) and proportion of shoulder lean-meat yield (p = 0.030). No associations were found with birth weight, tailing weight and weaning weight. These results suggest that ovine ADIPOQ may have value as a genetic marker for NZ Romney sheep breeding.
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