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Anim Genet. 2010 Feb;41(1):73-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2052.2009.01966.x. Epub 2009 Sep 29.

Analysis of candidate genes underlying two epistatic quantitative trait loci on SSC12 affecting litter size in pig.

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  • 1Departamento de Mejora Genética Animal, INIA, Madrid, Spain.


The previous results from a genome scan for total number of piglets born and number of piglets born alive in a F(2) Iberian by Meishan intercross showed several single and epistatic QTL. One of the most interesting results was obtained for SSC12, where two QTL affecting both traits showed epistatic interaction. In this study, we proposed two genes (SLC9A3R1 and NOS2) as biological and potentially positional candidates underlying these QTL. Both cDNAs were characterized and 23 polymorphisms were detected. A chromosome scan was conducted with 12 markers, plus one SNP in SLC9A3R1 and one in NOS2, covering 110 cM of SSC12. The epistatic QTL (QTL1 at 15 cM and QTL2 at 97 cM) were confirmed, and SLC9A3R1 and NOS2 were mapped around the QTL1 and QTL2 regions respectively. Several SNPs in both genes were tested with standard animal model and marker assisted association tests. The most significant results were obtained with the NOS2 haplotype defined by one missense SNP c.2192C > T (Val to Ala) and a 15 bp duplication at the 3'UTR. This duplication seems to include AU-rich elements, and could be a target site for miRNA, therefore there are statistical and biological indications to consider this haplotype as the potential causal mutation underlying QTL2. SLC9A3R1 results were not conclusive. Although the interaction between the SNPs was not significant, we cannot reject the possibility of interaction of the NOS2 haplotype with other polymorphisms closely linked to the SL9A3R1 SNPs analysed.

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