Candidate genes affecting fat deposition, carcass composition and meat quality traits in pigs

Doctoral thesis English RESTRICTED
Gandolfi, Greta <1983> (2011)
  • Publisher: Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna
  • Subject: AGR/17 Zootecnica generale e miglioramento genetico
    mesheuropmc: food and beverages

Pig meat quality is determined by several parameters, such as lipid content, tenderness, water-holding capacity, pH, color and flavor, that affect consumers’ acceptance and technological properties of meat. Carcass quality parameters are important for the production of fresh and dry-cure high-quality products, in particular the fat deposition and the lean cut yield. The identification of genes and markers associated with meat and carcass quality traits is of prime interest, for the possibility of improving the traits by marker-assisted selection (MAS) schemes. Therefore, the aim of this thesis was to investigate seven candidate genes for meat and carcass quality traits in pigs. In particular, we focused on genes belonging to the family of the lipid droplet coat proteins perilipins (PLIN1 and PLIN2) and to the calpain/calpastatin system (CAST, CAPN1, CAPN3, CAPNS1) and on the gene encoding for PPARg-coactivator 1A (PPARGC1A). In general, the candidate genes investigation included the protein localization, the detection of polymorphisms, the association analysis with meat and carcass traits and the analysis of the expression level, in order to assess the involvement of the gene in pork quality. Some of the analyzed genes showed effects on various pork traits that are subject to selection in genetic improvement programs, suggesting a possible involvement of the genes in controlling the traits variability. In particular, significant association results have been obtained for PLIN2, CAST and PPARGC1A genes, that are worthwhile of further validation. The obtained results contribute to a better understanding of biological mechanisms important for pig production as well as for a possible use of pig as animal model for studies regarding obesity in humans.
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