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Mol Ecol Resour. 2015 Mar;15(2):414-24. doi: 10.1111/1755-0998.12311. Epub 2014 Aug 22.

Genome-wide analysis reveals artificial selection on coat colour and reproductive traits in Chinese domestic pigs.

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Key Laboratory of Agricultural Animal Genetics, Breeding and Reproduction of Ministry of Education, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, 430070, China.


Pigs from Asia and Europe were independently domesticated from c. 9000 years ago. During this period, strong artificial selection has led to dramatic phenotypic changes in domestic pigs. However, the genetic basis underlying these morphological and behavioural adaptations is relatively unknown, particularly for indigenous Chinese pigs. Here, we performed a genome-wide analysis to screen 196 regions with selective sweep signals in Tongcheng pigs, which are a typical indigenous Chinese breed. Genes located in these regions have been found to be involved in lipid metabolism, melanocyte differentiation, neural development and other biological processes, which coincide with the evolutionary phenotypic changes in this breed. A synonymous substitution, c.669T>C, in ESR1, which colocalizes with a major quantitative trait locus for litter size, shows extreme differences in allele frequency between Tongcheng pigs and wild boars. Notably, the variant C allele in this locus exhibits high allele frequency in most Chinese populations, suggesting a consequence of positive selection. Five genes (PRM1, PRM2, TNP2, GPR149 and JMJD1C) related to reproductive traits were found to have high haplotype similarity in Chinese breeds. Two selected genes, MITF and EDNRB, are implied to shape the two-end black colour trait in Tongcheng pig. Subsequent SNP microarray studies of five Chinese white-spotted breeds displayed a concordant signature at both loci, suggesting that these two genes are responsible for colour variations in Chinese breeds. Utilizing massively parallel sequencing, we characterized the candidate sites that adapt to artificial and environmental selections during the Chinese pig domestication. This study provides fundamental proof for further research on the evolutionary adaptation of Chinese pigs.


Tongcheng pigs; evolution; genomic resequencing; melanocyte; reproductive traits; selective sweep

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