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Genetics. 2006 Dec;174(4):2119-27. Epub 2006 Oct 22.

Unexpected high polymorphism at the FABP4 gene unveils a complex history for pig populations.

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Departament de Ciència Animal i dels Aliments, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain.


Fatty acid bing protein 4 (FABP4) plays a key role in fat regulation in mammals and is a strong positional candidate gene for the FAT1 quantitative trait locus located on porcine chromosome 4. DNA resequencing of the FABP4 gene region in 23 pigs from 10 breeds and wild boar revealed 134 variants in 6.4 kb, representing a silent nucleotide diversity of piS=0.01, much higher than reported so far in animal domestic species. Moreover, this diversity was highly structured. Also strikingly, the FABP4 phylogenetic tree did not show any geographical or breed origin clustering, with distant breeds sharing similar haplotypes and some of the most heterozygous samples pertaining to highly inbred animals like Iberian Guadyerbas (inbreeding coefficient approximately 0.3) or British Tamworth. In contrast, the cytochrome b (mtDNA) phylogenetic tree was coherent with geographical origin. The estimated age of the most recent common ancestor for the most divergent Iberian or Tamworth haplotypes was much older than domestication. An additional panel of 100 pigs from 8 different breeds and wild boar from Spain, Tunisia, Sardinia, and Japan was genotyped for seven selected single nucleotide polymorphisms and shows that high variability at the porcine FABP4 is the rule rather than the exception. Pig populations, even highly inbred, can maintain high levels of variability for surprisingly long periods of time.

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