Joint analysis of additive, dominant and first-order epistatic effects of four genes (IGF2, MC4R, PRKAG3andLEPR) with known effects on fat content and fat distribution in pigs

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SummaryLEPR, MC4R, IGF2 and PRKAG3 are genes with known effects on fat content and distribution in pig carcass and pork. In a study performed with Duroc × Landrace/Large White pigs, we have found that IGF2 has strong additive effects on several carcass conformational traits and on fatty acid composition in several anatomical locations. MC4R shows additive effects on saturated fatty acid content in several muscles. On the other side, almost no additive effect has been found for PRKAG3 and very few for LEPR. In this work, no dominant effect has been found for any of the four genes. Using a Bayesian Lasso approach, we have been able now to find first-order epistatic (mainly dominant–additive) effects between LEPR and PRKAG3 for intramuscular fat content and for saturated fatty acid content in L. dorsii, B. femoralis, Ps. major and whole ham. The presence of interactions between genes in the shaping of traits of such importance as intramuscular fat content and composition highlights the complexity of heritable traits and the difficulty of gene-assisted selection for such traits.

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