Open Access Research article

Identification and characterization of microRNAs in the ovaries of multiple and uniparous goats (Capra hircus) during follicular phase

Ying-Hui Ling12, Chun-Huan Ren12, Xiao-Fei Guo12, Li-Na Xu3, Ya-Feng Huang12, Jian-Chuan Luo12, Yun-Hai Zhang12, Xiao-Rong Zhang12* and Zi-Jun Zhang12*

Author Affiliations

1 College of Animal Science and Technology, Anhui Agricultural University, No. 130 Changjiang west road, Hefei 230036, P.R. China

2 Anhui Provincial Laboratory of Local Animal Genetic Resources Conservation and Biobreeding, No. 130 Changjiang west road, Hefei 230036, P.R. China

3 Institute of Plant Protection and Agro-Products Safety, Anhui Academy of Agricultural Sciences, No. 40 South Nongke Road, Hefei 230031, P.R. China

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BMC Genomics 2014, 15:339  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-339

Published: 6 May 2014



Superior kidding rate is an important economic trait in production of meat goat, and ovulation rate is the precondition of kidding rate. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play critical roles in almost all ovarian biological processes, including folliculogenesis, follicle development, follicle atresia, luteal development and regression. To find out the different ovarian activity and follicle recruitment with miRNA-mediated posttranscriptional regulation, the small RNAs expressed pattern in the ovarian tissues of multiple and uniparous Anhui White goats during follicular phase was analyzed using Solexa sequencing data.


1008 miRNAs co-expressed, 309 and 433 miRNAs specifically expressed in the ovaries of multiple and uniparous goats during follicular phase were identified. The 10 most highly expressed miRNAs in the multiple library were also the highest expressed in the uniparous library, and there were no significantly different between each other. The highest specific expressed miRNA in the multiple library was miR-29c, and the one in the uniparous library was miR-6406. 35 novel miRNAs were predicted in total. GO annotation and KEGG Pathway analyses were implemented on target genes of all miRNA in two libraries. RT-PCR was applied to detect the expression level of 5 randomly selected miRNAs in multiple and uniparous hircine ovaries, and the results were consistent with the Solexa sequencing data.


In the present study, the different expression of miRNAs in the ovaries of multiple and uniparous goats during follicular phase were characterized and investigated using deep sequencing technology. The result will help to further understand the role of miRNAs in kidding rate regulation and also may help to identify miRNAs which could be potentially used to increase hircine ovulation rate and kidding rate in the future.

MicroRNA; Kidding rate; Solexa sequencing; Ovary; Follicular phase; Goat