Open Access Open Badges Research

Association between polymorphism in the FTO gene and growth and carcass traits in pig crosses

Věra Dvořáková12, Heinz Bartenschlager3, Antonín Stratil1*, Pavel Horák1, Roman Stupka2, Jaroslav Čítek2, Michal Šprysl2, Anna Hrdlicová1 and Hermann Geldermann3

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, 277 21 Liběchov, Czech Republic

2 Department of Animal Husbandry, Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, 165 21 Prague, Czech Republic

3 Department of Animal Breeding and Biotechnology, University of Hohenheim, D-70593 Stuttgart, Germany

For all author emails, please log on.

Genetics Selection Evolution 2012, 44:13  doi:10.1186/1297-9686-44-13

Published: 17 April 2012



Independent studies have shown that several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in the human FTO (fat mass and obesity associated) gene are associated with obesity. SNP have also been identified in the pig FTO gene, among which some are associated with selected fat-deposition traits in F2 crosses and commercial populations. In this study, using both commercial pig populations and an experimental Meishan × Pietrain F2 population, we have investigated the association between one FTO SNP and several growth and carcass traits. Association analyses were performed with the FTO polymorphism either alone or in combination with polymorphisms in flanking loci.


SNP (FM244720:g.400C>G) in exon 3 of porcine FTO was genotyped by PCR-RFLP and tested for associations with some growth, carcass and fat-related traits. Proportions of genetic variance of four pig chromosome 6 genes (FTO, RYR1, LIPE and TGFB1) on selected traits were evaluated using single- and multi-locus models.


Linkage analysis placed FTO on the p arm of pig chromosome 6, approximately 22 cM from RYR1. In the commercial populations, allele C of the FTO SNP was significantly associated with back fat depth and allele G with muscling traits. In the Meishan × Pietrain F2 pigs, heterozygotes with allele C from the Pietrain sows and allele G from the Meishan boar were more significantly associated with fat-related traits compared to homozygotes with allele G from the Pietrain and allele G from the Meishan breed. In single- and multi-locus models, genes RYR1, TGFB1 and FTO showed high associations. The contribution in genetic variance from the polymorphism in the FTO gene was highest for back fat depth, meat area on the musculus longissimus lumborum et thoracis tissues and metabolite glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase.


Our results show that in pig, FTO influences back fat depth in the commercial populations, while in the Meishan × Pietrain F2 pigs with a CG genotype, heterosis occurs for several fat-related traits.