УДК 636.4:636.082:575.174.015.3


O.V. Kostyunina1, N.A. Svezhentseva2, N.A. Zinovieva1, A.V. Dotsev1, A.V. Shahin1, E.I. Sizareva2, E.A. Gladyr’1

The effect of complex genotype for estrogene receptor (ESR) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF2) DNA markers of the large white boars on the reproductive traits of their daughters in two parities and on estimated breeding values (EBV) for productive traits was studied. It was shown that the daughters of boars carrying QQ genotype for IGF2 had the total number of piglets born higher by 0.34-0.95 and the number of piglets born alive higher by 0.41-1.08 comparing to daughters of boars carrying Qq genotype of IGF2 and the same genotype of ESR. The increase of EBV for back fat (+0.44 mm) and EBV for loin muscle aria (+28.42 mm2) and decrease of EBV for days to 100 kg (-3.92 days) in boars carrying QQ/BB genotype for IGF2/ESR comparing to QQ/AA genotype was observed. The value of selection index MLI, including EBV for number of piglets born alive, 21 day weight, back fat and days to 100 kg was maximal in boars carrying QQ/BB genotype for IGF2/ESR that was by 6.9-15.3 points higher comparing to boars of the other genotypes.

Keywords: marker assisted selection, pigs, estimated breeding values (EBV), productive traits.


Today, molecular genetic techniques increase the efficiency of breeding programs owing to more accurate genetic evaluation and reduced generation interval (1, 2). According to M.F. Rothschild et al. (3), in pigs there have been mapped 67 quantitative trait loci (QTL) for reproductive traits, 224 QTLs for growth parameters and 89 QTLs for fat thickness. Currently, there are genetic tests allowing to detect more than 12 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) of candidate genes associated with multiple fetation and number of piglets born alive (4). It has been shown that marker-assisted selection of pigs improves multiple fetation of sows by 0,3-1,0 piglet per litter (5-7). One of potentially important DNA markers associated with multiple fetation in pigs is a gene for estrogen receptor (ESR), whose products affect the expression of various transcription factors providing reproductive function in females (5). Along with it, DNA markers of meat and fattening productivity are widely used in breeding programs (8, 9). It has been also reported about the effect of a gene for insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) polymorphism (10) on fat deposition and growth of muscle tissue in  pure-bred pigs (11, 12) of both different experimental crosses and industrial populations (9, 13 -15).
Using molecular markers in breeding pigs must consider the effects of marker genes for the full range of commercially important traits. Thus, some authors highlight the participation of IGF2 in reproductive function in mice and farm animals (16, 17). Selection for lean and subsequent reduce in body fat percentage can suppress multiple fetation because the intrauterine development of piglets and milk feeding of a large litter requires increased energy reserves in sows (18). Thus, selection of pigs using IGF2 aimed at lean meat can result in probable undesirable consequences for a multiple fetation and the number of live piglets at birth (5). Mendelian model of inheritance was used to prove a reliable effect of different polymorphisms in the gene IGF2 on litter size in pigs of Czech (19) and Poland (20) selection. Using the model of imprinting inheritance has shown a significant effect on paternal Q allele of IGF2 on multiple pregnancy in sows at the third and subsequent farrowings (21). Studying the synthetic line of pigs obtained by crossing Large White and Landrace breeds, it has been revealed the increased multiple fetation in sows carrying Q allele of IGF2 inherited from father (22). On the contrary, L.A. Rempel c et al. (23) has established no significant effects of IGF2 polymorphism on reproductive properties of synthetic pig lines.
There are many available reports on effects of individual marker genes studied in different populations of pigs, but still no data about integrated action of genotypes for IGF2 and ESR marker genes on productivity traits and estimated breeding value (EBV) used as the main evaluation criteria in foreign programs of genetic improvement pigs (24).
The purpose of this work was studying the effect of complex genotype for ESR and IGF2 of Large White boars on reproductive properties of sows-daughters and estimated breeding value for main commercially important traits.
Technique. The material for molecular genetic studies were tissue samples (ear notches) of Large White boars bred in the JSC “Znamensky selection-hybridization center” (n = 34) (Orel province). DNA extraction and PCR were performed using conventional techniques (25). Polymorphism of the studied DNA markers ESR and IGF2 (G3072A – mutation G → A at position 3072) was investigated according to the procedure developed in the Center of Biotechnology and Molecular Diagnostics of the All-Russia  Research and Development Institute of Livestock Husbandry. Reproductive properties of sows-daughters were estimated using the results of the 1st (n = 613) and 2nd (n = 463) farrowings by the following parameters: multiple fetation, number of piglets live at birth, weight of one piglet and a litter at birth, number of piglets at weaning, weight of a litter at weaning. Breeding value of boars was estimated by several economically valuable parameters of sows-daughters – number of piglets live at birth, milk production (weight of a litter on the 21st day after farrowing), age at 100 kg weight,  fat thickness, loin eye muscle area and MLI (an integrated index for a number of piglets born alive, milk production, fat thickness and age at 100 kg). The data were calculated using BLUP-model for multiple parameters in the computer program Herdsman 2000 (“S & S Programming Inc.”, USA) and the built-in module PEST (26).
Statistical analysis of results was performed according to standard techniques (27, 28).
Results. Reproductive traits of sows-daughters of boars-carriers of different genotypes for ESR and IGF2 were analyzed (Table 1). The daughters of boars heterozygous for these genes showed the minimum values of piglets born alive and multiple fetation at both farrowings. As expected, the daughters of boars with BB genotype for ESR exceeded the daughters of boars with AA genotype (while an identical genotype for IGF2) in the abovementioned parameters at the 1st farrowing – respectively, by 0,41 and 0,44 piglet per litter, at the 2nd farrowing – by 0,21 and 0,27 piglet.

1. Characteristics of reproduction traits in Large White sows depending on genotypes of their fathers-boars for DNA-markers ESR and IGF2 (Х±х, JSC “Znamensky selection-hybridization center”, Orel province)

Father’s genotype for DNA-markers IGF2/ESR

Number of daughters

Multiple fetation

Number of piglets born alive

Live weight of one piglet at birth, kg

Weight of a litter at birth, kg

Number of piglets at weaning

Weight of a litter at weaning, kg

I  farrowing









































II  farrowing









































Note. IGF2 – insulin-like growth factor, ESR — estrogen receptor.
p< 0,05.


The boars’ genotypes for IGF2 were found to affect reproductive traits of daughters as well. Boars with QQ genotype, in contrast to Qq (while a similar genotype for ESR), provided higher levels of multiple fetation and number of piglets born alive: respectively, at the 1st farrowing – by 0,39-0,95 and 0,46-1,08 piglets per litter, at the 2nd farrowing – by 0,34-0,57 and 0,41-0,53 piglet. Thus, the boars’ genotype QQ for IGF2 (“desirable” in terms of meat and fattening productivity) didn’t cause any negative effects on multiple fetation and number of piglets live at birth in sows-daughters compared with Qq genotype. Comparison of the progeny revealed significant differences in weight of piglets at birth at the 1st farrowing: in daughters of Qq/AB boars it was 80 g higher (p <0,05) than that in daughters of QQ/AB boars. Average weight of one piglet at birth was 40 g higher (p <0,05) in daughters of QQ/AA boars than that in daughters of QQ/BB boars. At the 2nd farrowing, daughters of QQ/AA boars reliably exceeded daughters of Qq/AA boars by litter weight (by 0,84 kg, p <0,05) and by number of piglets at weaning (by 0,42 piglet, p <0,05).
The described patterns and trends are completely consistent with estimated breeding values of boars carrying different genotypes for the markers IGF2 and ESR (Table 2).
Boars with BB genotype for ESR (Table 2) were given higher EBV in number of piglets live at birth compared with boars having AA genotype for ESR (while a similar QQ genotype for IGF2) (+0,23 piglet per litter). Assessing the breeding value of boars for meat and fattening productivity, it should be noted that BB genotype of boars (“desirable” for multiple fetation) was found to be associated with increased thickness of fat (+ 0,44 mm), lean muscle eye area (28,42 mm2) and earlier age at 100 kg live weight (-3,92 days) in contrast to AA genotype.  The performed calculations have revealed an insignificant dominant effect for milk production (0,24 kg), fat thickness (0,19 mm) and age at 100 kg live weight (0,34 days).

2. Characteristics of estimated breeding value (EBV) of Large White boars depending on their genotypes for DNA-markers ESR and IGF2 (Х±х, JSC “Znamensky selection-hybridization center”, Orel province)

Boar’s genotype for DNA-markers

Number of boars, n

Maternal index, MLI

Number of piglets born alive

Milk production (weight of a litter) on the 21st day after farrowing, kg

Fat thickness, mm

Age of reaching the weight of 100 kg, days

Loin muscle eye area, mm2
































34,62±9,97b, d









Note. See Table 1; MLI — maternal index, a complex indicator combining a number of piglets born alive, milk production, fat thickness and age of reaching the weight of 100 kg; a, b, c and d – designations of the compared groups of animals.  
a p < 0,001; b p < 0,01; c, d p < 0,05.


An additive component of fat thickness amounted to 0,22 mm. The analysis of relations between EBV and IGF2 using the data of Table 2 suggests that boars with QQ genotype for IGF2 were ranked by higher EBV in number of piglets born alive (by 0,06-0,08 piglet) than boars with Qq genotype (while similar genotypes for ESR). The highest total breeding value for the integrated parameter MLI was observed in boars with QQ/BB genotype for IGF2/ESR exceeding the boars with other genotypes by 6,9-15,3 points.
So, the authors have established the absence of negative effects of Q allele of IGF2 gene (“desirable” in terms of meat and fattening productivity) on reproductive traits of Large White pigs. At the same time, the genotype BB for ESR (“desirable” in terms of multiple fetation) was found to reduce the age at 100 kg and increase lean muscle eye area. In this regard, estimating the genotypes of Large White boars for the markers IGF2 and ESR can be suggested as an additional criterion for selecting individuals with high breeding value for reproductive, fattening and meat quality.


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1Центр биотехнологии и молекулярной диагностики,
ГНУ Всероссийский НИИ животноводства

142132 Московская обл., Подольский р-н, пос. Дубровицы,
e-mail: n_zinovieva@mail.ru;
2ООО «Знаменский СГЦ»,
302030 Орловская обл., г. Орел, ул. Московская, 31

Поступила в редакцию
3 октября 2011 года