Open Access Research article

Breed, sex and anatomical location-specific gene expression profiling of the porcine skeletal muscles

Jie Zhang1, Chaowei Zhou1, Jideng Ma1, Lei Chen2, Anan Jiang1, Li Zhu1, Surong Shuai1, Jinyong Wang2, Mingzhou Li1* and Xuewei Li1*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Animal Genetics & Breeding, College of Animal Science & Technology, Sichuan Agricultural University, Ya’an, Sichuan 625000, China

2 Chongqing Academy of Animal Science, Chongqing 402460, China

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BMC Genetics 2013, 14:53  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-14-53

Published: 15 June 2013



Skeletal muscle is one of the most important economic traits in agricultural animals, especially in pigs. In the modern pig industry, lean type pigs have undergone strong artificial selection for muscle growth, which has led to remarkable phenotypic variations compared with fatty type pigs, making these different breeds an ideal model for comparative studies.


Here, we present comprehensive gene expression profiling for the white (longissimus dorsi muscle) and the red (psoas major muscle) skeletal muscles among male and female fatty Rongchang, feral Tibetan and lean Landrace pigs, using a microarray approach. We identified differentially expressed genes that may be associated the phenotypic differences of porcine muscles among the breeds, between the sexes and the anatomical locations. We also used a clustering method to identify sets of functionally coexpressed genes that are linked to different muscle phenotypes. We showed that, compared with the white muscles, which primarily modulate metabolic processes, the red muscles show a tendency to be a risk factor for inflammation and immune-related disorders.


This analysis presents breed-, sex- and anatomical location-specific gene expression profiles and further identified genes that may be associated with the phenotypic differences in porcine muscles among breeds, between the sexes and the anatomical locations.

Gene expression; Microarray; Muscle; Pig