Microsatellite mapping of quantitative trait loci affecting female reproductive tract characteristics in Meishan x Large White F(2) pigs

J Anim Sci. 2012 Jan;90(1):37-44. doi: 10.2527/jas.2011-3989. Epub 2011 Sep 23.


A QTL analysis of female reproductive data from a 3-generation experimental cross between Meishan and Large White pig breeds is presented. Six F(1) boars and 23 F(1) sows, progeny of 6 Large White boars and 6 Meishan sows, produced 502 F(2) gilts whose reproductive tract was collected after slaughter at 30 d of gestation. Five traits [i.e., the total weight of the reproductive tract, of the empty uterine horns, of the ovaries (WOV), and of the embryos], as well as the length of uterine horns (LUH), were measured and analyzed with and without adjustment for litter size. Animals were genotyped for a total of 137 markers covering the entire porcine genome. Analyses were carried out based on interval mapping methods, using a line-cross regression and a half-full sib maximum likelihood test. A total of 18 genome-wide significant (P < 0.05) QTL were detected on 9 different chromosomes (i.e., SSC 1, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12, 13, 18, and X). Five genome-wide significant QTL were detected for LUH, 4 for weight of the empty uterine horns and WOV, 2 for total weight of the reproductive tract, and 1 for weight of the embryos. Twenty-two additional suggestive QTL were also detected. The largest effects were obtained for LUH and WOV on SSC13 (9.2 and 7.0% of trait phenotypic variance, respectively). Meishan alleles had both positive (e.g., on SSC7) and negative effects (e.g., on SSC13) on the traits investigated. Moreover, the QTL were generally not fixed in founder breeds, and opposite effects were in some cases obtained in different families. Although reproductive tract characteristics had only a moderate correlation with reproductive performances, most of the major QTL detected in this study were previously reported as affecting female reproduction, generally with reduced significance levels. This study thus shows that focusing on traits with high heritability might help to detect loci involved in low heritability major traits for breeding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosome Mapping / veterinary
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Female
  • Fetus / physiology
  • Genome-Wide Association Study*
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Microsatellite Repeats*
  • Models, Biological
  • Ovary / physiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sus scrofa / genetics*
  • Sus scrofa / physiology
  • Uterus / anatomy & histology
  • Uterus / physiology