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Anim Genet. 2012 Feb;43(1):18-26. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2052.2011.02213.x. Epub 2011 May 27.

A whole-genome association study for pig reproductive traits.

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Department of Animal Science and Center for Integrated Animal Genomics, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA.


A whole-genome association study was performed for reproductive traits in commercial sows using the PorcineSNP60 BeadChip and Bayesian statistical methods. The traits included total number born (TNB), number born alive (NBA), number of stillborn (SB), number of mummified foetuses at birth (MUM) and gestation length (GL) in each of the first three parities. We report the associations of informative QTL and the genes within the QTL for each reproductive trait in different parities. These results provide evidence of gene effects having temporal impacts on reproductive traits in different parities. Many QTL identified in this study are new for pig reproductive traits. Around 48% of total genes located in the identified QTL regions were predicted to be involved in placental functions. The genomic regions containing genes important for foetal developmental (e.g. MEF2C) and uterine functions (e.g. PLSCR4) were associated with TNB and NBA in the first two parities. Similarly, QTL in other foetal developmental (e.g. HNRNPD and AHR) and placental (e.g. RELL1 and CD96) genes were associated with SB and MUM in different parities. The QTL with genes related to utero-placental blood flow (e.g. VEGFA) and hematopoiesis (e.g. MAFB) were associated with GL differences among sows in this population. Pathway analyses using genes within QTL identified some modest underlying biological pathways, which are interesting candidates (e.g. the nucleotide metabolism pathway for SB) for pig reproductive traits in different parities. Further validation studies on large populations are warranted to improve our understanding of the complex genetic architecture for pig reproductive traits.

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