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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Jul 5;97(14):7947-50.

Genome-wide scan for body composition in pigs reveals important role of imprinting.

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Animal Breeding and Genetics Group, Wageningen Institute of Animal Sciences, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 338, 6700 AH Wageningen, The Netherlands.


The role of imprinting in body composition was investigated in an experimental cross between Chinese Meishan pigs and commercial Dutch pigs. A whole-genome scan revealed significant evidence for five quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting body composition, of which four were imprinted. Imprinting was tested with a statistical model that separated the expression of paternally and maternally inherited alleles. For back fat thickness, a paternally expressed QTL was found on Sus scrofa chromosome 2 (SSC2), and a Mendelian-expressed QTL was found on SSC7. In the same region of SSC7, a maternally expressed QTL affecting muscle depth was found. Chromosome 6 harbored a maternally expressed QTL on the short arm and a paternally expressed QTL on the long arm, both affecting intramuscular fat content. The individual QTL explained from 2% up to 10% of the phenotypic variance. The known homologies to human and mouse did not reveal positional candidate genes. This study demonstrates that testing for imprinting should become a standard procedure to unravel the genetic control of multifactorial traits.

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