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Identification of chromosomal locations associated with tail biting and being a victim of tail-biting behaviour in the domestic pig (Sus scrofa domesticus)

Wilson, Kaitlin, Zanella, Ricardo, Ventura, Carlos, Johansen, Hanne Lind, Framstad, Tore, Janczak, Andrew, Zanella, Adroaldo J., Neibergs, Holly Louise
Journal of applied genetics 2012 v.53 no.4 pp. 449-456
DNA, Sus scrofa, blood, linkage disequilibrium, loci, quality control, single nucleotide polymorphism, swine, tail, Norway
The objective of this study was to identify loci associated with tail biting or being a victim of tail biting in Norwegian crossbred pigs using a genome-wide association study with PLINK case–control analysis. DNA was extracted from hair or blood samples collected from 98 trios of crossbred pigs located across Norway. Each trio came from the same pen and consisted of one pig observed to initiate tail biting, one pig which was the victim of tail biting and a control pig which was not involved in either behaviour. DNA was genotyped using the Illumina PorcineSNP60 BeadChip whole-genome single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) assay. After quality assurance filtering, 53,952 SNPs remained comprising 74 animals (37 pairs) for the tail biter versus control comparison and 53,419 SNPs remained comprising 80 animals (40 pairs) for the victim of tail biting versus control comparison. An association with being a tail biter was observed on Sus scrofa chromosome 16 (SSC16; p = 1.6 × 10−5) and an unassigned chromosome (p = 3.9 × 10−5). An association with being the victim of tail biting was observed on Sus scrofa chromosomes 1 (SSC1; p = 4.7 × 10−5), 9 (SSC9; p = 3.9 × 10−5), 18 (SSC18; p = 7 × 10−5 for 9,602,511 bp, p = 3.4 × 10−5 for 9,653,881 bp and p = 5.3 × 10−5 for 29,577,783 bp) and an unassigned chromosome (p = 6.1 × 10−5). An r 2 = 0.96 and a D′ = 1 between the two SNPs at 9 Mb on SSC18 indicated extremely high linkage disequilibrium, suggesting that these two markers represent a single locus. These results provide evidence of a moderate genetic association between the propensity to participate in tail-biting behaviour and the likelihood of becoming a victim of this behaviour.