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Detection of quantitative trait loci affecting serum cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglyceride in pigs

Muhammad Jasim Uddin, Do Ngoc Duy, Mehmet Ulas Cinar, Dawit Tesfaye, Ernst Tholen, Heinz Juengst, Christian Looft and Karl Schellander*

Author affiliations

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

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Citation and License

BMC Genetics 2011, 12:62  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-12-62

Published: 13 July 2011



Serum lipids are associated with many serious cardiovascular diseases and obesity problems. Many quantitative trait loci (QTL) have been reported in the pig mostly for performance traits but very few for the serum lipid traits. In contrast, remarkable numbers of QTL are mapped for serum lipids in humans and mice. Therefore, the objective of this research was to investigate the chromosomal regions influencing the serum level of the total cholesterol (CT), triglyceride (TG), high density protein cholesterol (HDL) and low density protein cholesterol (LDL) in pigs. For this purpose, a total of 330 animals from a Duroc × Pietrain F2 resource population were phenotyped for serum lipids using ELISA and were genotyped by using 122 microsatellite markers covering all porcine autosomes for QTL study in QTL Express. Blood sampling was performed at approximately 175 days before slaughter of the pig.


Most of the traits were correlated with each other and were influenced by average daily gain, slaughter date and age. A total of 18 QTL including three QTL with imprinting effect were identified on 11 different porcine autosomes. Most of the QTL reached to 5% chromosome-wide (CW) level significance including a QTL at 5% experiment-wide (GW) and a QTL at 1% GW level significance. Of these QTL four were identified for both the CT and LDL and two QTL were identified for both the TG and LDL. Moreover, three chromosomal regions were detected for the HDL/LDL ratio in this study. One QTL for HDL on SSC2 and two QTL for TG on SSC11 and 17 were detected with imprinting effect. The highly significant QTL (1% GW) was detected for LDL at 82 cM on SSC1, whereas significant QTL (5% GW) was identified for HDL/LDL on SSC1 at 87 cM. Chromosomal regions with pleiotropic effects were detected for correlated traits on SSC1, 7 and 12. Most of the QTL identified for serum lipid traits correspond with the previously reported QTL for similar traits in other mammals. Two novel QTL on SSC16 for HDL and HDL/LDL ratio and an imprinted QTL on SSS17 for TG were detected in the pig for the first time.


The newly identified QTL are potentially involved in lipid metabolism. The results of this work shed new light on the genetic background of serum lipid concentrations and these findings will be helpful to identify candidate genes in these QTL regions related to lipid metabolism and serum lipid concentrations in pigs.

pig; QTL; serum lipids; F2 population