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J Anim Sci. 1999 Apr;77(4):846-52.

Effect of genetic variants of the heart fatty acid-binding protein gene on intramuscular fat and performance traits in pigs.

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  • 1Department of Breeding and Genetics, DLO-Institute for Animal Science and Health (ID-DLO), Lelystad, The Netherlands.


In order to find genetic markers to improve the meat quality of pigs by breeding we studied the relationship between variation in the heart fatty acid-binding protein (H-FABP) gene (FABP3) and intramuscular fat (IMF) content. To estimate the effect of H-FABP, pigs from two Duroc populations were selectively mated in such a way that at least two genotypes were present in each litter. In total, data from 983 pigs and pedigree information from three preceding generations were analyzed. Offspring were tested for IMF content as well as backfat thickness (BFT), BW, and drip loss of the meat (DRIP). All pigs were assigned to H-FABP RFLP genotype classes either by the assessed genotype (75%) or based on a probability score determined according to genotypic information of their relatives (25%). Contrasts were detected between homozygous H-FABP RFLP genotype classes for IMF content (.4%, P < .05), BFT (.6 mm, P < .01), and BW (2.4 kg, P < .10). No significant contrasts were detected for DRIP. Results for IMF content, BFT, and BW were confirmed when only genotyped animals were analyzed. Variation in BFT partially explained the effect on IMF content. Although other closely linked genes on porcine chromosome 6 might be responsible for the observed effect, interference of the halothane gene was excluded because all parental animals were noncarriers. In conclusion, H-FABP RFLP can be used as markers to select for increased IMF content and growth in breeding programs.

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