Background: The current availability of genotypes for very large numbers of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) is leading to more accurate estimates of inbreeding coefficients and more detailed approaches for detecting inbreeding depression. In the present study, genome-wide information was used to detect inbreeding depression for two reproductive traits (total number of piglets born and number of piglets born alive) in an ancient strain of Iberian pigs (the Guadyerbas strain) that is currently under serious danger of extinction.
Methods: A total of 109 sows with phenotypic records were genotyped with the PorcineSNP60 BeadChip v1. Inbreeding depression was estimated using a bivariate animal model in which the inbreeding coefficient was included as a covariate. We used two different measures of genomic inbreeding to perform the analyses: inbreeding estimated on a SNP-by-SNP basis and inbreeding estimated from runs of homozygosity. We also performed the analyses using pedigree-based inbreeding.
Results: Significant inbreeding depression was detected for both traits using all three measures of inbreeding. Genome-wide information allowed us to identify one region on chromosome 13 associated with inbreeding depression. This region spans from 27 to 54 Mb and overlaps with a previously detected quantitative trait locus and includes the inter-alpha-trypsin inhibitor gene cluster that is involved with embryo implantation.
Conclusions: Our results highlight the value of high-density SNP genotyping for providing new insights on where genes causing inbreeding depression are located in the genome. Genomic measures of inbreeding obtained on a SNP-by-SNP basis or those based on the presence/absence of runs of homozygosity represent a suitable alternative to pedigree-based measures to detect inbreeding depression, and a useful tool for mapping studies. To our knowledge, this is the first study in domesticated animals using the SNP-by-SNP inbreeding coefficient to map specific regions within chromosomes associated with inbreeding depression.