Fine mapping genetic variants associated with age at puberty and sow fertility using SowPro90 genotyping array

Hiruni R. Wijesena, Stephen D. Kachman, Clay A. Lents, Jean Jack Riethoven, Melanie D. Trenhaile-Grannemann, Tim J. Safranski, Matthew L. Spangler, Daniel C. Ciobanu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Sow fertility traits, such as litter size and the number of lifetime parities produced (reproductive longevity), are economically important. Selection for these traits is difficult because they are lowly heritable and expressed late in life. Age at puberty (AP) is an early indicator of reproductive longevity. Here, we utilized a custom Affymetrix single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) array (SowPro90) enriched with positional candidate genetic variants for AP and a haplotype-based genome-wide association study to fine map the genetic sources associated with AP and other fertility traits in research (University of Nebraska-Lincoln [UNL]) and commercial sow populations. Five major quantitative trait loci (QTL) located on four Sus scrofa chromosomes (SSC2, SSC7, SSC14, and SSC18) were discovered for AP in the UNL population. Negative correlations (r = -0.96 to -0.10; P < 0.0001) were observed at each QTL between genomic estimated breeding values for AP and reproductive longevity measured as lifetime number of parities (LTNP). Some of the SNPs discovered in the major QTL regions for AP were located in candidate genes with fertility-associated gene ontologies (e.g., P2RX3, NR2F2, OAS1, and PTPN11). These SNPs showed significant (P < 0.05) or suggestive (P < 0.15) associations with AP, reproductive longevity, and litter size traits in the UNL population and litter size traits in the commercial sows. For example, in the UNL population, when the number of favorable alleles of an SNP located in the 3' untranslated region of PTPN11 (SSC14) increased, AP decreased (P < 0.0001), while LTNP increased (P < 0.10). Additionally, a suggestive difference in the observed NR2F2 isoforms usage was hypothesized to be the source of the QTL for puberty onset mapped on SSC7. It will be beneficial to further characterize these candidate SNPs and genes to understand their impact on protein sequence and function, gene expression, splicing process, and how these changes affect the phenotypic variation of fertility traits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberskaa293
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2020


  • Bayes interval mapping
  • Custom genotyping array
  • Gilts
  • Puberty
  • Reproductive longevity
  • SowPro90

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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