Revealing genetic relationships between compounds affecting boar taint and reproduction in pigs

E Grindflek, T H E Meuwissen, T Aasmundstad, H Hamland, M H S Hansen, T Nome, M Kent, P Torjesen, S Lien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Boar taint is characterized by an unpleasant taste or odor in intact male pigs and is primarily attributed to increased concentrations of androstenone and skatole and to a lesser extent by increased indole. The boar taint compounds skatole and indole are produced by gut bacteria, metabolized in the liver, and stored in the fat tissue. Androstenone, on the other hand, is synthesized in the testis along with testosterone and estrogens, which are known to be important factors affecting fertility. The main goal of this study was to investigate the relationship between genetic factors involved in the primary boar taint compounds in an attempt to discover ways to reduce boar taint without decreasing fertility-related compounds. Heritabilities and genetic correlations between traits were estimated for compounds related to boar taint (androstenone, skatole, indole) and reproduction (testosterone, 17β-estradiol, and estrone sulfate). Heritabilities in the range of 0.47 to 0.67 were detected for androstenone concentrations in both fat and plasma, whereas those for skatole and indole were slightly less (0.27 to 0.41). The genetic correlations between androstenone in plasma and fat were extremely high (0.91 to 0.98) in Duroc and Landrace. In addition, genetic correlations between androstenone (both plasma and fat) and the other sex steroids (estrone sulfate, 17β-estradiol, and testosterone) were very high, in the range of 0.80 to 0.95. Furthermore, a genome-wide association study (GWA) and a combined linkage disequilibrium and linkage analysis (LDLA) were conducted on 1,533 purebred Landrace and 1,027 purebred Duroc to find genome regions involved in genetic control of the boar taint compounds androstenone, skatole, and indole, and sex hormones related to fertility traits. Up to 3,297 informative SNP markers were included for both breeds, including SNP from several boar taint candidate genes. From the GWA study, we found that altogether 27 regions were significant at a genome-wide level (P
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)680-92
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Androgens
  • Animals
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Genome
  • Indoles
  • Male
  • Meat
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Quantitative Trait Loci
  • Reproduction
  • Skatole
  • Swine


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