Effect of VRTN gene polymorphisms on Duroc pig production and carcass traits, and their genetic relationships
The thoracic vertebral number is associated with body length and carcass traits, and represents one of the most important traits in the pig industry. Recent studies have shown that vertnin (VRTN) gene is associated with variations in the vertebral number in commercial European pigs. However, the genetic relationships and effect of this VRTN gene in pig production and carcass traits remain uncertain. Therefore, we investigated the genetic relationships among traits such as vertebral numbers, carcass weight and length‐related traits, and meat production traits, and the effect of VRTN gene polymorphisms on these traits in a Duroc purebred population selected for its meat production traits. Highly positive genetic correlations were obtained between the thoracic vertebral numbers and length‐related traits (0.56 to 0.84), whereas low correlations were obtained with production traits and carcass weight (−0.16 to 0.05). VRTN gene polymorphisms indicated that the number of thoracic vertebrae and length‐related traits were significantly associated with the VRTN genotype, but had no significant effect on production traits and carcass weight. The results indicate that VRTN gene may be used as an effective selection marker to obtain pigs with high thoracic vertebral numbers and length‐related traits, without adversely affecting meat production traits.
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