Genome-wide association study for growth and fatness traits in Chinese Sujiang pigs

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SummaryGrowth and fatness traits are complex and economically important traits in the pig industry. The molecular basis underlying porcine growth and fatness traits remains largely unknown. To uncover genetic loci and candidate genes for these traits, we explored the GeneSeek GGP Porcine 80K SNP chip to perform a GWAS for seven growth and fatness traits in 365 individuals from the Sujiang pig, a recently developed breed in China. We identified two, 17, one and 11 SNPs surpassing the suggestively significant threshold (P < 1.86 × 10−5) for body weight, chest circumference, chest width and backfat thickness respectively. Of these SNPs, 20 represent novel genetic loci, and five and four SNPs were respectively associated with chest circumference and backfat thickness at a genome-wide significant threshold (P < 9.31 × 10−7). Eight SNPs had a pleiotropic effect on both chest circumference and backfat thickness. The most remarkable locus resided in a region between 72.95 and 76.27 Mb on pig chromosome 4, harboring a number of previously reported quantitative trait loci related to backfat deposition. In addition to two reported genes (PLAG1 and TAS2R38), we identified four genes including GABRB3, ZNF106, XKR4 and MGAM as novel candidates for body weight and backfat thickness at the mapped loci. Our findings provide insights into the genetic architecture of porcine growth and fatness traits and potential markers for selective breeding of Chinese Sujiang pigs.

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