Genetic Variation of Two Local Romanian Pig Breeds Assessed Using DNA Markers
D.C. Ciobanu 1,2, A.E. Day 3, A. Nagy 4, R. Wales 3,5, M.F. Rothschild 2, G.S. Plastow 3
1 Animal Genetics Unit, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, 3400 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
2 Department of Animal Science, 2255 Kildee Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, U.S.A.
3 PIC International Group, Fyfield Wick, OX13 5NA, U.K.
4 Agricultural Research Station of Turda, Romania
5 Present Address: Cereals Innovation Centre, Du Pont Ltd., Cambridge CB1 2UJ, UK
Analysis of the genetic diversity of an endangered population is an important component for the success of conservation. Animals from two local Romanian pig breeds, Mangalitsa and Bazna, were analyzed for variation at a number of genetic loci using PCR based DNA tests. Polymorphism was assessed at several candidate gene loci potentially involved in disease resistance (FUT1, NRAMP1), growth and fatness (LEP, MC4R), coat color (MC1R), meat quality (CRC1, CAST) and prolificacy (ESR, PRLR)). Even though the populations are small and the gene markers are only a small part of a group of important genes, we have discovered a significant amount of variation in almost all of the characterized loci. The c2 contingency test used to estimate the differences between the breeds regarding gene frequency, suggests that differences in gene frequency explained some of the phenotypic variation in several of the traits that differentiate the breeds. This study also offers genetic information about the origin of the breeds and illustrates the potential utility of new genetic markers (e.g. CAST, PRLR or MC4R) for accelerating genetic progress not only in modern established commercial lines, but also in the selection of adapted local breeds for commercial meat production systems.
Today many of the breeds in danger of extinction have not even been properly characterised especially in developing countries. Molecular tools offer the means to characterise a breed not only in terms of genetic distance (e.g. with microsatellites) but also in terms of variation at interesting loci associated with phenotypes. Such an approach, illustrated here, will give more opportunity to elaborate an efficient strategy for conservation of breeds, providing important resources for new unique traits or for future scientific interest.
Key words: pig, genetic diversity, local breeds.