Genome-wide analyses reveal the regions involved in the phenotypic diversity in Sicilian pigs


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Abstract

Summary:Nero Siciliano (Sicilian Black, SB) is a local pig breed generally of uniform black color. In addition to this officially recognized breed, there are animals showing morphological characteristics resembling the SB but with gray hair (Sicilian Grey, SG). The SG, compared with the SB, also shows a more compact structure with greater transverse diameters, higher average daily gains and lower thickness of the back fat. In this study, using the Illumina PorcineSNP60 BeadChip, we run genome-wide analyses to identify regions that may explain the phenotypic differences between SB (n = 21) and SG (n = 27) individuals. Combining the results of the two case–control approaches (GWAS and FST), we identified two significant regions, one on SSC5 (95 401 083 bp) and one on SSC15 (55 051 435 bp), which contains several candidate genes related to growth traits in pig. The results of the Bayesian population differentiation approach identified a marker near the MGAT4C, a gene associated with average daily gain in pigs. Finally, scanning the genome for runs of homozygosity islands, we found that the two groups have different runs of homozygosity islands, with several candidate genes involved in coat color (in SG) or related to different pig performance traits (in SB). In summary, the two analyzed groups differed for several phenotypic traits, and genes involved in these traits (growth, meat traits and coat color) were detected. This study provided another contribution to the identification of genomic regions involved in phenotypic variability in local pig populations

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