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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Refined localization of the FAT1 quantitative trait locus on pig chromosome 4 by marker-assisted backcrossing

Frida Berg1, Susanne Stern2, Kjell Andersson2, Leif Andersson12* and Maria Moller23

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, SE-751 24, Sweden

2 Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Uppsala, SE-750 07, Sweden

3 Experimental Medicine Unit, School of Medicine, University of Wales, Swansea, SA2 8PP, Wales, UK

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BMC Genetics 2006, 7:17  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-7-17

Published: 17 March 2006



A major QTL for fatness and growth, denoted FAT1, has previously been detected on pig chromosome 4q (SSC4q) using a Large White – wild boar intercross. Progeny that carried the wild boar allele at this locus had higher fat deposition, shorter length of carcass, and reduced growth. The position and the estimated effects of the FAT1 QTL for growth and fatness have been confirmed in a previous study. In order to narrow down the QTL interval we have traced the inheritance of the wild boar allele associated with high fat deposition through six additional backcross generations.


Progeny-testing was used to determine the QTL genotype for 10 backcross sires being heterozygous for different parts of the broad FAT1 region. The statistical analysis revealed that five of the sires were segregating at the QTL, two were negative while the data for three sires were inconclusive. We could confirm the QTL effects on fatness/meat content traits but not for the growth traits implying that growth and fatness are controlled by distinct QTLs on chromosome 4. Two of the segregating sires showed highly significant QTL effects that were as large as previously observed in the F2 generation. The estimates for the remaining three sires, which were all heterozygous for smaller fragments of the actual region, were markedly smaller. With the sample sizes used in the present study we cannot with great confidence determine whether these smaller effects in some sires are due to chance deviations, epistatic interactions or whether FAT1 is composed of two or more QTLs, each one with a smaller phenotypic effect. Under the assumption of a single locus, the critical region for FAT1 has been reduced to a 3.3 cM interval between the RXRG and SDHC loci.


We have further characterized the FAT1 QTL on pig chromosome 4 and refined its map position considerably, from a QTL interval of 70 cM to a maximum region of 20 cM and a probable region as small as 3.3 cM. The flanking markers for the small region are RXRG and SDHC and the orthologous region of FAT1 in the human genome is located on HSA1q23.3 and harbors approximately 20 genes. Our strategy to further refine the map position of this major QTL will be i) to type new markers in our pigs that are recombinant in the QTL interval and ii) to perform Identity-By-Descent (IBD) mapping across breeds that have been strongly selected for lean growth.