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Identification of inverted teat candidate genes in sows

Last changed: 22 May 2017

The number of functional teats is an important selection criterion in pig breeding. Inherited defects of the udder, such as the inverted teat, do have a considerable negative impact on the nursing ability of the sow.

To investigate the genetic background of this defect and the number of functional teats in Swedish maternal lines, samples from 230 Yorkshire pigs were selected for genotyping using the PorcineSNP60K BeadChip (Illumina Inc.), each pig with at least one inverted teat was matched with one non-affected pig (fullsib or pairs with matching herd and gender). A genome-wide association study on these 230 pigs was performed using the two-step approach implemented in GenABEL using 46,652 single nucleotide polymorphisms across all autosomes and the X chromosome.

A number of significant regions were identified for the inverted teat defect on chromosomes 2, 10, and 18. Many of the regions associated with the number of functional teats were located in the same or close regions, except two associated markers on the X chromosome and one on chromosome 3. We identified some of the regions on chromosomes previously reported in one linkage and one gene expression study.

We conclude, despite being able to suggest new candidate genes, that further studies are needed to better understand the biologic background of the teat development. Despite the in-depth comparison of identified regions for the inverted teat defect done here, more studies are required to allow a clear identification of genetic regions relevant for this defect across many pig populations.

Link to the publication


Chalkias H, Jonas E, Andersson LS, Jacobson M, de Koning DJ, Lundeheim N, Lindgren G.. Identification of novel candidate genes for the inverted teat defect in sows using a genome-wide marker panel. J Appl Genetics. 2017; 58: 249. doi:10.1007/s13353-016-0382-1


Elisabeth Jonas
Researcher at the Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics; Quantitative genetics