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Open Access Research article

A combination of two variants in PRKAG3 is needed for a positive effect on meat quality in pigs

Pekka Uimari12* and Anu Sironen1

Author Affiliations

1 MTT Agrifood Research Finland, Biotechnology and Food Research, FI-31600 Jokioinen, Finland

2 Department of Agricultural Sciences, Animal Breeding, University of Helsinki, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland

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BMC Genetics 2014, 15:29  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-15-29

Published: 28 February 2014



Color and pH of meat measured 24 h post mortem are common selection objectives in pig breeding programs. Several amino acid substitutions in PRKAG3 have been associated with various meat quality traits. In our previous study ASGA0070625, a SNP next to PRKAG3, had the most significant association with meat quality traits in the Finnish Yorkshire. However, the known amino acid substitutions, including I199V, did not show any association. The aims of this study were to characterize further variation in PRKAG3 and its promoter region, and to test the association between these variants and the pH and color of pork meat.


The data comprised of 220 Finnish Landrace and 230 Finnish Yorkshire artificial insemination boars with progeny information. We sequenced the coding and promoter region of PRKAG3 in these and in three additional wild boars. Genotypes from our previous genome-wide scans were also included in the data. Association between SNPs or haplotypes and meat quality traits (deregressed estimates of breeding values from Finnish national breeding value estimation for pH, color lightness and redness measured from loin or ham) was tested using a linear regression model. Sequencing revealed several novel amino acid substitutions in PRKAG3, including K24E, I41V, K131R, and P134L. Linkage disequilibrium was strong among the novel variants, SNPs in the promoter region and ASGA0070625, especially for the Yorkshire. The strongest associations were observed between ASGA0070625 and the SNPs in the promoter region and pH measured from loin in the Yorkshire and between I199V and pH measured from ham in the Landrace. In contrast, ASGA0070625 was not significantly associated with meat quality traits in the Landrace and I199V not in the Yorkshire. Haplotype analysis showed a significant association between a haplotype consisting of 199I and 24E alleles (or g.-157C or g.-58A alleles in the promoter region) and pH measured from loin and ham in both breeds (P-values varied from 1.72 × 10-4 to 1.80 × 10-8).


We conclude that haplotype g.-157C - g.-58A - 24E - 199I in PRKAG3 has a positive effect on meat quality in pigs. Our results are readily applicable for marker-assisted selection in pigs.

Association; Haplotype; Meat quality; Pig; SNP