Open Access Research article

Detection of quantitative trait loci affecting haematological traits in swine via genome scanning

Yuan-Fang Gong12, Xin Lu13, Zhi-Peng Wang1, Fang Hu1, Yan-Ru Luo1, Shao-Qian Cai1, Chun-Mei Qi1, Shan Li1, Xiao-Yan Niu1, Xiao-Tian Qiu1, Jian Zeng1 and Qin Zhang1*

Author Affiliations

1 Key Laboratory Animal Genetics and Breeding of the Ministry of Agriculture, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China

2 Department of Animal Science, Hebei Normal University of Science & Technology, Chang li, Hebei 066600, China

3 National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, P.O. Box 5, Changping, Beijing 102206, China

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BMC Genetics 2010, 11:56  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-11-56

Published: 28 June 2010



Haematological traits, which consist of mainly three components: leukocyte traits, erythrocyte traits and platelet traits, play extremely important role in animal immune function and disease resistance. But knowledge of the genetic background controlling variability of these traits is very limited, especially in swine.


In the present study, 18 haematological traits (7 leukocyte traits, 7 erythrocyte traits and 4 platelet traits) were measured in a pig resource population consisting of 368 purebred piglets of three breeds (Landrace, Large White and Songliao Black Pig), after inoculation with the swine fever vaccine when the pigs were 21 days old. A whole-genome scan of QTL for these traits was performed using 206 microsatellite markers covering all 18 autosomes and the X chromosome. Using variance component analysis based on a linear mixed model and the false discovery rate (FDR) test, 35 QTL with FDR < 0.10 were identified: 3 for the leukocyte traits, 28 for the erythrocyte traits, and 4 for the platelet traits. Of the 35 QTL, 25 were significant at FDR < 0.05 level, including 9 significant at FDR < 0.01 level.


Very few QTL were previously identified for hematological traits of pigs and never in purebred populations. Most of the QTL detected here, in particular the QTL for the platelet traits, have not been reported before. Our results lay important foundation for identifying the causal genes underlying the hematological trait variations in pigs.