Open Access Research article

Fine mapping of fatness QTL on porcine chromosome X and analyses of three positional candidate genes

Junwu Ma12, Hélène Gilbert134, Nathalie Iannuccelli1, Yanyu Duan2, Beili Guo2, Weibing Huang2, Huanban Ma2, Juliette Riquet1, Jean-Pierre Bidanel34, Lusheng Huang2* and Denis Milan1*

Author Affiliations

1 INRA, UMR444 Laboratoire de Génétique Cellulaire, Castanet-Tolosan F-31326, France

2 Key Laboratory for Animal Biotechnology of Jiangxi Province and the Ministry of Agriculture of China, Jiangxi Agricultural University, Nanchang 330045, P.R. China

3 INRA, UMR1313 GABI, Jouy-en-Josas F-78352, France

4 AgroParisTech, UMR1313 GABI, Paris 05 F-75231, France

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BMC Genetics 2013, 14:46  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-14-46

Published: 1 June 2013



Porcine chromosome X harbors four QTL strongly affecting backfat thickness (BFT), ham weight (HW), intramuscular fat content (IMF) and loin eye area (LEA). The confidence intervals (CI) of these QTL overlap and span more than 30 cM, or approximately 80 Mb. This study therefore attempts to fine map these QTL by joint analysis of two large-scale F2 populations (Large White × Meishan and White Duroc × Erhualian constructed by INRA and JXAU respectively) and furthermore, to determine whether these QTL are caused by mutations in three positional candidate genes (ACSL4, SERPINA7 and IRS4) involved in lipid biosynthesis.


A female-specific linkage map with an average distance of 2 cM between markers in the initial QTL interval (SW2456-SW1943) was created and used here. The CI of QTL for BFT, HW and LEA were narrowed down to 6–7 cM, resulting from the joint analysis. For IMF, two linked QTL were revealed in the INRA population but not in the JXAU population, causing a wider CI (13 cM) for IMF QTL. Linkage analyses using two subsets of INRA F1 dam families demonstrate that the BFT and HW QTL were segregating in the Meishan pigs. Moreover, haplotype comparisons between these dams suggest that within the refined QTL region, the recombination coldspot (~34 Mb) flanked by markers MCSE3F14 and UMNP1218 is unlikely to contain QTL genes. Two SNPs in the ACSL4 gene were identified and showed significant association with BFT and HW, but they and the known polymorphisms in the other two genes are unlikely to be causal mutations.


The candidate QTL regions have been greatly reduced and the QTL are most likely located downstream of the recombination coldspot. The segregation of SSCX QTL for BFT and HW within Meishan breed provides an opportunity for us to make effective use of Meishan chromosome X in crossbreeding. Further studies should attempt to identify the impact of additional DNA sequence (e.g. CNV) and expression variation in the three genes or their surrounding genes on these traits.

Pig; QTL; Fatness; X chromosome; Coldspot; Meishan; Erhualian