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Open AccessArticle

Redefinition of the Mora Romagnola Pig Breed Herd Book Standard Based on DNA Markers Useful to Authenticate Its “Mono-Breed” Products: An Example of Sustainable Conservation of a Livestock Genetic Resource

1
Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Division of Animal Sciences, University of Bologna, Viale Fanin 46, 40127 Bologna, Italy
2
Associazione Nazionale Allevatori Suini, Via Nizza 53, 00198 Roma, Italy
3
Associazione Regionale Allevatori dell’Emilia-Romagna, Viale Della Mercanzia 240-242-244, 40050 Funo di Argelato (BO), Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Maria Giuseppina Strillacci
Animals 2021, 11(2), 526; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020526
Received: 17 January 2021 / Revised: 11 February 2021 / Accepted: 13 February 2021 / Published: 18 February 2021
Autochthonous breeds are, in general, well adapted to their production systems in which they have been constituted but they are usually less efficient than commercial breeds. Therefore, conservation strategies of livestock genetic resources should be designed to assure profitability to the farmers. The development of “mono-breed” brand products is one of the most effective actions towards this aim. These products are usually sold at a higher price compared to undifferentiated ones, as the consumers consider positively the link between these breeds and the perceived quality of their products. The premium price, however, also attracts fraudsters that unscrupulously see an economic advantage by selling mis-labelled products to obtain an unjustified additional economic gain. These frauds undermine the whole strategy designed to support a sustainable conservation of autochthonous genetic resources. Mora Romagnola is a local pig breed raised in the north of Italy. Mono-breed pork products derived from this breed are part of an important niche value chain that is intrinsically linked to the conservation of this local genetic resource. In this study we present how the Mora Romagnola Herd Book standard integrated information of DNA markers of two genes (MC1R and NR6A1), affecting morphological traits, to allow the authentication of mono-breed products of this breed. This is one of the first examples of sustainable conservation of a pig genetic resource designed starting from the genotype of the animals registered to the breed herd book, with the specific purpose to combat frauds.
Mora Romagnola is an autochthonous pig breed, raised in the north of Italy. Mono-breed pork products of this breed are part of important niche value chain that is intrinsically linked to the conservation of this local genetic resources that can only survive due to the premium price that these products can obtain on the market. However, the added value attracts fraudsters that unscrupulously sell mis-labelled Mora Romagnola products, causing consumer distrust that, in turn, undermines the conservation strategy of this breed. To monitor and better characterise this local breed, we phenotyped 826 Mora Romagnola pigs for three breed-specific traits. Then, we genotyped almost all living sows and boars registered to the Herd Book (n. = 357 animals) for polymorphisms in the MC1R and NR6A1 genes (affecting coat colour and vertebral number, respectively). The results were used to re-define the breed descriptors of the Mora Romagnala breed that included information on the allowed genotypes at these two genes. A few pigs that did not carry the allowed genotypes were excluded from its Herd Book. Finally, we evaluated the usefulness of these DNA markers to authenticate Mora Romagnola meat against meat derived from other 11 pig breeds and wild boars. To our knowledge, the Mora Romagnola Herd Book is one of the first examples that established a direct link between a genetic standard of a breed with the possibility to authenticate mono-breed products using DNA markers with the specific purpose to combat frauds and, indirectly, support the conservation of a livestock genetic resource. View Full-Text
Keywords: authenticity; autochthonous breed; conservation genetics; fraud; genetic resources; SNP; Sus scrofa authenticity; autochthonous breed; conservation genetics; fraud; genetic resources; SNP; Sus scrofa
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MDPI and ACS Style

Tinarelli, S.; Ribani, A.; Utzeri, V.J.; Taurisano, V.; Bovo, C.; Dall’Olio, S.; Nen, F.; Bovo, S.; Schiavo, G.; Gallo, M.; Fontanesi, L. Redefinition of the Mora Romagnola Pig Breed Herd Book Standard Based on DNA Markers Useful to Authenticate Its “Mono-Breed” Products: An Example of Sustainable Conservation of a Livestock Genetic Resource. Animals 2021, 11, 526. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020526

AMA Style

Tinarelli S, Ribani A, Utzeri VJ, Taurisano V, Bovo C, Dall’Olio S, Nen F, Bovo S, Schiavo G, Gallo M, Fontanesi L. Redefinition of the Mora Romagnola Pig Breed Herd Book Standard Based on DNA Markers Useful to Authenticate Its “Mono-Breed” Products: An Example of Sustainable Conservation of a Livestock Genetic Resource. Animals. 2021; 11(2):526. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020526

Chicago/Turabian Style

Tinarelli, Silvia; Ribani, Anisa; Utzeri, Valerio J.; Taurisano, Valeria; Bovo, Claudio; Dall’Olio, Stefania; Nen, Francesco; Bovo, Samuele; Schiavo, Giuseppina; Gallo, Maurizio; Fontanesi, Luca. 2021. "Redefinition of the Mora Romagnola Pig Breed Herd Book Standard Based on DNA Markers Useful to Authenticate Its “Mono-Breed” Products: An Example of Sustainable Conservation of a Livestock Genetic Resource" Animals 11, no. 2: 526. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020526

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