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Open Access Research article

Genome-wide linkage analysis of inguinal hernia in pigs using affected sib pairs

Eli Grindflek12*, Maren Moe13, Helge Taubert4, Henner Simianer4, Sigbjørn Lien23 and Thomas Moen25

Author Affiliations

1 The Norwegian Pig Breeders Association (NORSVIN), Hamar, Norway

2 Centre for Integrative Genetics, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Aas, Norway

3 Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Aas, Norway

4 Institute of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Georg-August University of Goettingen, Goettingen, Germany

5 AKVAFORSK, Aas, Norway

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BMC Genetics 2006, 7:25  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-7-25

Published: 3 May 2006



Inguinal and scrotal hernias are of great concern to pig producers, and lead to poor animal welfare and severe economic loss. Selection against these conditions is highly preferable, but at this time no gene, Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL), or mode of inheritance has been identified in pigs or in any other species. Therefore, a complete genome scan was performed in order to identify genomic regions affecting inguinal and scrotal hernias in pigs. Records from seedstock breeding farms were collected. No clinical examinations were executed on the pigs and there was therefore no distinction between inguinal and scrotal hernias. The genome scan utilised affected sib pairs (ASP), and the data was analysed using both an ASP test based on Non-parametric Linkage (NPL) analysis, and a Transmission Disequilibrium Test (TDT).


Significant QTLs (p < 0.01) were detected on 8 out of 19 porcine chromosomes. The most promising QTLs, however, were detected in SSC1, SSC2, SSC5, SSC6, SSC15, SSC17 and SSCX; all of these regions showed either statistical significance with both statistical methods, or convincing significance with one of the methods. Haplotypes from these suggestive QTL regions were constructed and analysed with TDT. Of these, six different haplotypes were found to be differently transmitted (p < 0.01) to healthy and affected pigs. The most interesting result was one haplotype on SSC5 that was found to be transmitted to hernia pigs with four times higher frequency than to healthy pigs (p < 0.00005).


For the first time in any species, a genome scan has revealed suggestive QTLs for inguinal and scrotal hernias. While this study permitted the detection of chromosomal regions only, it is interesting to note that several promising candidate genes, including INSL3, MIS, and CGRP, are located within the highly significant QTL regions. Further studies are required in order to narrow down the suggestive QTL regions, investigate the candidate genes, and to confirm the suggestive QTLs in other populations. The haplotype associated with inguinal and scrotal hernias may help in achieving selection against the disorder.