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Quantitative trait loci analysis for leg weakness-related traits in a Duroc × Pietrain crossbred population

Watchara Laenoi1, Muhammad Jasim Uddin1, Mehmet Ulas Cinar1, Christine Große-Brinkhaus1, Dawit Tesfaye1, Elisabeth Jonas12, Armin M Scholz3, Ernst Tholen1, Christian Looft1, Klaus Wimmers4, Chirawath Phatsara15, Heinz Juengst1, Helga Sauerwein1, Manfred Mielenz1 and Karl Schellander1*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Animal Science, University of Bonn, Endenicher Allee 15, 53115 Bonn, Germany

2 Reprogen, University of Sydney, 425 Werombi Road, Camden NSW 2570, Australia

3 Livestock Center of the Veterinary Faculty, Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich, Sankt Hubertusstrasse 12, 85764 Oberschleissheim, Germany

4 Leibniz Institute of Farm Animal Biology, Wilhelm-Stahl-Allee 2, 18196 Dummerstorf, Germany

5 Department of Animal and Aquatic Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand

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Genetics Selection Evolution 2011, 43:13  doi:10.1186/1297-9686-43-13

Published: 20 March 2011



Leg weakness issues are a great concern for the pig breeding industry, especially with regard to animal welfare. Traits associated with leg weakness are partly influenced by the genetic background of the animals but the genetic basis of these traits is not yet fully understood. The aim of this study was to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting leg weakness in pigs.


Three hundred and ten F2 pigs from a Duroc × Pietrain resource population were genotyped using 82 genetic markers. Front and rear legs and feet scores were based on the standard scoring system. Osteochondrosis lesions were examined histologically at the head and the condylus medialis of the left femur and humerus. Bone mineral density, bone mineral content and bone mineral area were measured in the whole ulna and radius bones using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. A line-cross model was applied to determine QTL regions associated with leg weakness using the QTL Express software.


Eleven QTL affecting leg weakness were identified on eight autosomes. All QTL reached the 5% chromosome-wide significance level. Three QTL were associated with osteochondrosis on the humerus end, two with the fore feet score and two with the rear leg score. QTL on SSC2 and SSC3 influencing bone mineral content and bone mineral density, respectively, reached the 5% genome-wide significance level.


Our results confirm previous studies and provide information on new QTL associated with leg weakness in pigs. These results contribute towards a better understanding of the genetic background of leg weakness in pigs.