Revealing genetic relationships between compounds affecting boar taint and reproduction in pigs.

NORSVIN (The Norwegian Pig Breeders Association), PO Box 504, 2304 Hamar, Norway.
Journal of Animal Science (Impact Factor: 1.92). 03/2011; 89(3):680-92. DOI: 10.2527/jas.2010-3290
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Boar taint is characterized by an unpleasant taste or odor in intact male pigs and is primarily attributed to increased concentrations of androstenone and skatole and to a lesser extent by increased indole. The boar taint compounds skatole and indole are produced by gut bacteria, metabolized in the liver, and stored in the fat tissue. Androstenone, on the other hand, is synthesized in the testis along with testosterone and estrogens, which are known to be important factors affecting fertility. The main goal of this study was to investigate the relationship between genetic factors involved in the primary boar taint compounds in an attempt to discover ways to reduce boar taint without decreasing fertility-related compounds. Heritabilities and genetic correlations between traits were estimated for compounds related to boar taint (androstenone, skatole, indole) and reproduction (testosterone, 17β-estradiol, and estrone sulfate). Heritabilities in the range of 0.47 to 0.67 were detected for androstenone concentrations in both fat and plasma, whereas those for skatole and indole were slightly less (0.27 to 0.41). The genetic correlations between androstenone in plasma and fat were extremely high (0.91 to 0.98) in Duroc and Landrace. In addition, genetic correlations between androstenone (both plasma and fat) and the other sex steroids (estrone sulfate, 17β-estradiol, and testosterone) were very high, in the range of 0.80 to 0.95. Furthermore, a genome-wide association study (GWA) and a combined linkage disequilibrium and linkage analysis (LDLA) were conducted on 1,533 purebred Landrace and 1,027 purebred Duroc to find genome regions involved in genetic control of the boar taint compounds androstenone, skatole, and indole, and sex hormones related to fertility traits. Up to 3,297 informative SNP markers were included for both breeds, including SNP from several boar taint candidate genes. From the GWA study, we found that altogether 27 regions were significant at a genome-wide level (P < 0.05) and an additional 7 regions were significant at a chromosomal level. From the LDLA study, 7 regions were significant on a genome-wide level and an additional 7 regions were significant at a chromosomal level. The most convincing associations were obtained in 6 regions affecting skatole and indole in fat on chromosomes 1, 2, 3, 7, 13, and 14, 1 region on chromosome 6 affecting androstenone in plasma only, and 5 regions on chromosomes 3, 4, 13, and 15 affecting androstenone, testosterone, and estrogens.

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