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Number and mode of inheritance of QTL influencing backfat thickness on SSC2p in Sino-European pig pedigrees

Flavie Tortereau13*, Hélène Gilbert2, Henri CM Heuven3, Jean-Pierre Bidanel2, Martien AM Groenen3 and Juliette Riquet1

Author Affiliations

1 INRA, UMR 0444 Génétique Cellulaire, F-31326 Castanet-Tolosan, France

2 INRA, UMR 1313 Génétique Animale et Biologie Intégrative, F-78352 Jouy-en-Josas, France

3 Wageningen University, Animal Breeding and Genetics Group, 6700 AH Wageningen, The Netherlands

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Genetics Selection Evolution 2011, 43:11  doi:10.1186/1297-9686-43-11

Published: 6 March 2011



In the pig, multiple QTL associated with growth and fatness traits have been mapped to chromosome 2 (SSC2) and among these, at least one shows paternal expression due to the IGF2-intron3-G3072A substitution. Previously published results on the position and imprinting status of this QTL disagree between analyses from French and Dutch F2 crossbred pig populations obtained with the same breeds (Meishan crossed with Large White or Landrace).


To study the role of paternal and maternal alleles at the IGF2 locus and to test the hypothesis of a second QTL affecting backfat thickness on the short arm of SSC2 (SSC2p), a QTL mapping analysis was carried out on a combined pedigree including both the French and Dutch F2 populations, on the progeny of F1 males that were heterozygous (A/G) and homozygous (G/G) at the IGF2 locus. Simulations were performed to clarify the relations between the two QTL and to understand to what extent they can explain the discrepancies previously reported.


The QTL analyses showed the segregation of at least two QTL on chromosome 2 in both pedigrees, i.e. the IGF2 locus and a second QTL segregating at least in the G/G F1 males and located between positions 30 and 51 cM. Statistical analyses highlighted that the maternally inherited allele at the IGF2 locus had a significant effect but simulation studies showed that this is probably a spurious effect due to the segregation of the second QTL.


Our results show that two QTL on SSC2p affect backfat thickness. Differences in the pedigree structures and in the number of heterozygous females at the IGF2 locus result in different imprinting statuses in the two pedigrees studied. The spurious effect observed when a maternally allele is present at the IGF2 locus, is in fact due to the presence of a second closely located QTL. This work confirms that pig chromosome 2 is a major region associated with fattening traits.