Chromosomal imbalance in pigs showing a syndromic form of cleft palate

BMC Genomics. 2019 May 8;20(1):349. doi: 10.1186/s12864-019-5711-4.


Background: Palatoschisis or cleft palate is a known anomaly in pigs resulting in their death. However, little is known about its aetiology. A detailed description of the phenotype was derived from necropsy and by computed tomography revealing that all 20 cases also exhibited hypodontia and renal cysts. Furthermore, a genetic origin was assumed due to dominant inheritance as all 20 recorded cases were confirmed offspring of a single boar.

Results: Single nucleotide variant (SNV) genotyping data were used to map the defect in the porcine genome and led to the detection of a chromosomal imbalance in the affected offspring. Whole genome sequencing of an affected piglet and a normal full sib was used to identify a chromosomal translocation and to fine map the breakpoints in the genome. Finally, we proved that the boar, which sired the malformed piglets, carried a balanced translocation. The detected translocation of Mb-sized segments of chromosome 8 and 14 had not been previously observed during karyotyping. All affected offspring were shown to be carriers of a partial trisomy of chromosome 14 including the FGFR2 gene, which is associated with various dominant inherited craniofacial dysostosis syndromes in man, and partial monosomy of chromosome 8 containing MSX1 known to be associated with tooth agenesis and orofacial clefts in other species.

Conclusions: This study illustrates the usefulness of recently established genomic resources in pigs. In this study, the application of genome-wide genotyping and sequencing methods allowed the identification of the responsible boar and the genetic cause of the observed defect. By implementing systematic surveillance, it is possible to identify genetic defects at an early stage and avoid further distribution of congenital disorders.

Keywords: Artificial insemination; Cryptorchidism; Kidney cysts; Malformation; Palatoschisis; Pig; Reciprocal translocation; Teeth; Whole genome sequencing, SNV array genotyping.

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / genetics*
  • Abnormalities, Multiple / pathology
  • Animals
  • Chromosome Aberrations*
  • Cleft Palate / genetics*
  • Cleft Palate / pathology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Swine / genetics*
  • Syndrome
  • Whole Genome Sequencing