Exploiting phenotype diversity in a local animal genetic resource: identification of a single nucleotide polymorphism associated with the tail shape phenotype in the autochthonous Casertana pig breed

Francesca Bertolini, Giuseppina Schiavo, Silvia Tinarelli, Laura Santoro, Valerio Joe Utzeri, Stefania Dall'Olio, Leonardo Nanni Costa, Maurizio Gallo, Luca Fontanesi*

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Abstract

    Casertana is a local pig breed mainly raised in Central-South regions of Italy. Pigs of this breed are considered the descendants of the ancient Neapolitan population that largely influenced the constitution of the modern commercial pigs. The pigs of this breed are usually curly-tailed, like several other domestic pig populations. However, Casertana population shows some variability for this trait, including animals having straight tail as observed in wild boars. In this study, we run, for the first time, a genome wide association study (GWAS) comparing the curly tailed (no. = 53) and straight tailed (no. = 19) Casertana pigs to identify genomic regions associated with the tail shape phenotype in Sus scrofa. All animals were genotyped with the Illumina PorcineSNP60 BeadChip v.2. GEMMA software was used in the GWAS for which we were able to correct for stratification in the analysed cohort. A single nucleotide polymorphism (rs81439488), located on porcine chromosome 12, was significantly associated with the investigated trait. This marker is close to the SRY-box 9 (SOX9) gene that encodes for a transcription factor that is required during sequential steps of the chondrocyte differentiation pathway, notochord maintenance and skeletogenesis. As the shape of the tail could be important in relation to the problem of tail biting in pigs, the obtained results might open new perspectives for defining selection programs answering indirectly animal welfare issues. This work demonstrated that autochthonous animal genetic resources might be used to disclose genetic factors affecting peculiar traits by exploiting segregating phenotypes and genetic variability.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalLivestock Science
    Volume216
    Pages (from-to)148-152
    ISSN1871-1413
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Keywords

    • Animal genetic resource
    • Autochthonous breed
    • GWAS
    • Morphological trait
    • SNP
    • Sus scrofa

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