Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)

Tracing selection signatures in the pig genome gives evidence for selective pressures on a unique curly hair phenotype in Mangalitza

Selection for desirable traits and breed-specific phenotypes has left distinctive footprints in the genome of pigs. As representative of a breed with strong selective traces aiming for robustness, health and performance, the Mangalitza pig, a native curly-haired pig breed from Hungary, was investigated in this study. Whole genome sequencing and SNP chip genotyping was performed to detect runs of homozygosity (ROH) in Mangalitza and Mangalitza-crossbreeds. We identified breed specific ROH regions harboring genes associated with the development of the curly hair type and further characteristics of this breed. Further analysis of two matings of Mangalitza with straight-coated pig breeds confirmed an autosomal dominant inheritance of curly hair. Subsequent scanning of the genome for variant effects on this trait revealed two variants potentially affecting hair follicle development and differentiation. Validation in a large sample set as well as in imputed SNP data confirmed these variants to be Mangalitza-specific. Herein, we demonstrated how strong artificial selection has shaped the genome in Mangalitza pigs and left traces in the form of selection signatures. This knowledge on genomic variation promoting unique phenotypes like curly hair provides an important resource for futures studies unraveling genetic effects for special characteristics in livestock.

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