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Asian-Australas J Anim Sci. 2019 Apr;32(4):501-507. doi: 10.5713/ajas.18.0378. Epub 2018 Oct 26.

Maternal lineage of Okinawa indigenous Agu pig inferred from mitochondrial DNA control region.

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Okinawa Prefectural Livestock and Grassland Research Center, Nakijin, Okinawa 905-0426, Japan.
Okinawa Prefectural Livestock Breeding Center, Kunigami, Okinawa 905-1503, Japan.
Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO), Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0901, Japan.
Faculty of Agriculture, University of the Ryukyus, Nishihara, Okinawa 903-0213, Japan.



The Agu is the only native pig breed in Japan, which is reared in Okinawa prefecture, the southernmost region in Japan. Its origins are considered to be of Asian lineage; however, the genetic background of the Agu is still unclear. The objective of this study was to elucidate the maternal lineage of the Okinawa indigenous Agu pig with the use of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region.


The mtDNA control regions of Agu pigs were sequenced and the phylogenetic relationship among Agu, East Asian and European pigs was investigated with the use of 78 Agu individuals.


Twenty-seven polymorphic sites and five different haplotypes (type 1 to type 5) were identified within the Agu population. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that types 1 and 2 were included in East Asian lineages; however, the remaining types 3, 4, and 5 were of European lineages, which showed a gene flow from European pigs in the 20th century. Sixty-seven out of 78 Agu individuals (85.9%) possessed mtDNA haplotypes 1 and 2 of the East Asian lineage, which were identical to two haplotypes of ancient mtDNA (7,200 to 1,700 years before the present) excavated at archaeological sites in Okinawa.


This study confirmed that the East Asian lineage is dominant in the maternal genetic background of the Agu population, supporting the hypothesis that the ancestors of the Agu pig were introduced from the Asian continent.


Agu; Haplotype; Maternal Lineage; Mitochondrial DNA; Okinawa Indigenous Pig

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