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J Anim Sci. 1999 Sep;77(9):2352-6.

Influences of myogenin genotypes on birth weight, growth rate, carcass weight, backfat thickness, and lean weight of pigs.

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DLO-Institute for Animal Science and Health, Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Lelystad, The Netherlands.


Lean weight is related to muscle fiber number. Muscle fiber formation (myogenesis) occurs only during embryonic development when it is under the control of the MyoD gene family consisting of myogenin, MyoD1, myf-5, and myf-6. Myogenin has a central position within the MyoD gene family because myogenin expression abrogates myoblast proliferation potential and regulates the differentiation of single nucleated myoblasts into multinucleated myofibers. Thus, myogenin genotype could be related to variation in the number of muscle fibers formed, leading to variation in muscle mass and, thus, lean weight. A polymorphism at the porcine myogenin locus was associated with birth weight, growth rate, lean weight at 200 d, and backfat thickness. Yorkshire pigs from two commercial lines were genotyped, and crosses between heterozygous pigs and heterozygous and homozygous pigs were made. Resulting litters were genotyped, and phenotypic data were collected. Significant differences were found between the two homozygous myogenin genotypes for birth weight, growth rate, and lean weight, but not for backfat thickness. Variation at the myogenin locus explained 4% of the total phenotypic variation in birth weight, growth rate, and carcass weight, and 5.8% of the total variation in lean weight. We conclude that myogenin genotype influences porcine growth rate and muscle mass.

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