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Article

Single-Step Genome Wide Association Study Identifies QTL Signals for Untrimmed and Trimmed Thigh Weight in Italian Crossbred Pigs for Dry-Cured Ham Production

1
Dipartimento Agricoltura, Ambiente e Alimenti, Università degli Studi del Molise, Via de Sanctis Snc, 86100 Campobasso, Italy
2
ARGO Open Lab Platform for Genome Sequencing, AREA Science Park, Padriciano, 99, 34149 Trieste, Italy
3
Dipartimento di Scienze Agroambientali, Alimentari e Animali, Università di Udine, Via Delle Scienze, 208, 33100 Udine, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Frédéric Farnir and Sang Hong Lee
Animals 2021, 11(6), 1612; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061612
Received: 1 March 2021 / Revised: 14 May 2021 / Accepted: 25 May 2021 / Published: 29 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
Along with the traditional traits, swine breeding programs for Italian dry-cured ham production have recently aimed to include novel phenotypes. The identification of the genomic regions underlying such new traits helps to untangle their genetic architecture and may provide useful information to be integrated in genetic selection. With this aim, we estimated genetic parameters and conducted a single step genome wide association studies (GWAS) on untrimmed and trimmed thigh weight considering two pig crossbred lines approved for Italian Protected Designation of Origin ham production. Quantitative trait loci (QTLs) were characterized based on the variance of 10-SNP sliding windows genomic estimated breeding values. In particular, we identified interesting QTL signals on several chromosomes, notably on chromosome 4, 6, 7 and 15. A high heritability and genetic correlation were observed for the two traits under investigation and although independent studies including other pig populations are required to disentangle the possible effects of specific linkage disequilibrium in our population, our findings suggest that such QTL could be investigated in future pig breeding programs to improve the reliability of genomic estimated breeding values for the dry-cured ham production.
Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) dry-cured ham is the most important product in the Italian pig breeding industry, mainly oriented to produce heavy pig carcasses to obtain hams of the right weight and maturity. Recently, along with the traditional traits swine breeding programs have aimed to include novel carcass traits. The identification at the genome level of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) affecting such new traits helps to reveal their genetic determinism and may provide information to be integrated in prediction models in order to improve prediction accuracy as well as to identify candidate genes underlying such traits. This study aimed to estimate genetic parameters and perform a single step genome wide association studies (ssGWAS) on novel carcass traits such as untrimmed (UTW) and trimmed thigh weight (TTW) in two pig crossbred lines approved for the ham production of the Italian PDO. With this purpose, phenotypes were collected from ~1800 animals and 240 pigs were genotyped with Illumina PorcineSNP60 Beadchip. The single-step genomic BLUP procedure was used for the heritability estimation and to implement the ssGWAS. QTL were characterized based on the variance of 10-SNP sliding window genomic estimated breeding values. Moderate heritabilities were detected and QTL signals were identified on chromosome 1, 4, 6, 7, 11 and 15 for both traits. As expected, the genetic correlation among the two traits was very high (~0.99). The QTL regions encompassed a total of 249 unique candidate genes, some of which were already reported in association with growth, carcass or ham weight traits in pigs. Although independent studies are required to further verify our findings and disentangle the possible effects of specific linkage disequilibrium in our population, our results support the potential use of such new QTL information in future breeding programs to improve the reliability of genomic prediction. View Full-Text
Keywords: dry-cured ham; ssGWAS; pig; protected designation of origin; thigh weight dry-cured ham; ssGWAS; pig; protected designation of origin; thigh weight
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MDPI and ACS Style

Palombo, V.; D’Andrea, M.; Licastro, D.; Dal Monego, S.; Sgorlon, S.; Sandri, M.; Stefanon, B. Single-Step Genome Wide Association Study Identifies QTL Signals for Untrimmed and Trimmed Thigh Weight in Italian Crossbred Pigs for Dry-Cured Ham Production. Animals 2021, 11, 1612. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061612

AMA Style

Palombo V, D’Andrea M, Licastro D, Dal Monego S, Sgorlon S, Sandri M, Stefanon B. Single-Step Genome Wide Association Study Identifies QTL Signals for Untrimmed and Trimmed Thigh Weight in Italian Crossbred Pigs for Dry-Cured Ham Production. Animals. 2021; 11(6):1612. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061612

Chicago/Turabian Style

Palombo, Valentino, Mariasilvia D’Andrea, Danilo Licastro, Simeone Dal Monego, Sandy Sgorlon, Misa Sandri, and Bruno Stefanon. 2021. "Single-Step Genome Wide Association Study Identifies QTL Signals for Untrimmed and Trimmed Thigh Weight in Italian Crossbred Pigs for Dry-Cured Ham Production" Animals 11, no. 6: 1612. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061612

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