Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Asian genes in European pigs result in more piglets

Date:
July 22, 2014
Source:
Wageningen University and Research Centre
Summary:
Pigs that are bred commercially in Europe are found to have a highly varied mosaic of different European and Asian gene variants. The Asian genes in particular result in a large number of piglets in European pig breeds. Researchers now explain that a number of important characteristics of European pigs have Asian origins. They previously demonstrated that the genetic diversity among commercial pigs is greater than within the existing populations of wild boar.

Pigs which are bred commercially in Europe are found to have a highly varied mosaic of different European and Asian gene variants. The Asian genes in particular result in a large number of piglets in European pig breeds. In the latest issue of the science journal Nature Communications, researchers from Wageningen University explain that a number of important characteristics of European pigs have Asian origins. They previously demonstrated that the genetic diversity among commercial pigs is greater than within the existing populations of wild boar.

Related Articles


The pig we know today has a long history since the original independent domestication of the wild boar in Europe and Asia some 10,000 years ago. This domestication resulted in European and Asian pig breeds with very different characteristics and appearance. Modern commercial European pigs contain DNA originating from Asia. According to the researchers, the genetic diversity in commercial pigs is greater than in existing wild boar populations as a result.

Chinese pigs

The Wageningen research has demonstrated that different parts of the genome of commercial pigs are much closer to Chinese pigs than to European wild boar. 'At first sight that seems surprising because pigs in Asia and Europe were domesticated independently from one another around ten thousand years ago and you would therefore expect there to be no traces of Asian DNA in European pigs', says Professor Martien Groenen, under whose leadership the research took place.

In Nature Communications, he and his colleagues explain that the finding has its origin in the UK in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This is because there was a strong rise in the demand for pork during the Industrial Revolution and pig farmers in the UK in particular saw that Asian pigs had characteristics they wanted to improve in their own pigs. In general, Chinese pigs were much more fertile and fatter than their European counterparts. So breeders imported a number of Chinese individuals around this time and crossed them with their own European pigs. The greater genetic diversity within the current commercial pig breeds is therefore the result of crosses between European and Chinese pigs around two hundred years ago.

Strong selection for characteristics such as fertility and fat production of the Asian pigs subsequently ensured that some pieces of Asian DNA are present at high frequency in the European pigs. An example is the AHR gene, of which many European pigs have the Asian version. Sows with the European gene have significantly fewer piglets than carriers of the Asian version.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wageningen University and Research Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Mirte Bosse, Hendrik-Jan Megens, Laurent A. F. Frantz, Ole Madsen, Greger Larson, Yogesh Paudel, Naomi Duijvesteijn, Barbara Harlizius, Yanick Hagemeijer, Richard P. M. A. Crooijmans, Martien A. M. Groenen. Genomic analysis reveals selection for Asian genes in European pigs following human-mediated introgression. Nature Communications, 2014; 5 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5392
  2. Mirte Bosse, Hendrik-Jan Megens, Ole Madsen, Laurent A.F. Frantz, Yogesh Paudel, Richard P.M.A. Crooijmans, Martien A.M. Groenen. Untangling the hybrid nature of modern pig genomes: a mosaic derived from biogeographically distinct and highly divergentSus scrofapopulations. Molecular Ecology, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/mec.12807

Cite This Page:

Wageningen University and Research Centre. "Asian genes in European pigs result in more piglets." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140722111705.htm>.
Wageningen University and Research Centre. (2014, July 22). Asian genes in European pigs result in more piglets. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140722111705.htm
Wageningen University and Research Centre. "Asian genes in European pigs result in more piglets." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140722111705.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) Urbanspoon predicts whicg food trends will dominate the culinary scene in 2015. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) NASA's Curiosity rover detected methane on Mars and organic compounds on the surface, but it doesn't quite prove there was life ... yet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 17, 2014) Demand for ivory has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of African elephants and now a conservation report says the illegal trade is overwhelming efforts to enforce the law. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins