Multiple Asian pig origins revealed through genomic analyses

Erin S. Luetkemeier, Monika Sodhi, Lawrence B Schook, Ripan S Malhi

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Previous mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) studies have suggested that European and Asian pig populations were derived through multiple domestication events. We investigated whether domestic pig populations were derived from distinct ancestors within their respective regions, using eight domestic breeds (five European and three Asian), and also European and Asian wild boar populations. Genomic analyses utilized 21 microsatellite markers (MS) selected for their distribution across the pig genome in addition to the mtDNA D-loop region. The number of alleles per MS loci ranged from 8 (Sw2008) to 16 (S0097 and S0218). Few significant departures from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium were detected, suggesting the absence of heterozygote deficiencies. Analyses within populations revealed observed mean heterozygosity from 0.48 (Erhualian) to 0.68 (Dutch WB) and an expected mean heterozygosity from 0.53 (Hampshire) to 0.80 (Japanese WB) with effective alleles ranging from 2.28 (Hampshire) to 3.74 (French WB). Wild boar populations demonstrated a higher level of heterozygosity than domestic breeds. Genetic differentiation estimated by fixation indices (FST) ranged from 0.021 (Yorkshire and Duroc) to 0.410 (Meishan and Hampshire) and was consistent with previous mtDNA analysis. Both phylogenetic and principal component analyses revealed a distinct separation of European and Asian derived populations with tight clustering of the European domestic breeds. Conversely, the use of both MS and mtDNA clarified that the Asian populations were comprised of three groups, one represented by Erhualian and Meishan breed, the second represented by Lanyu pigs and the third represented by the Asian wild boars. The current findings support the hypothesis that Asian domestic populations were derived from multiple Asian ancestral origins whereas the European domestic populations represent a single ancestral European lineage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)680-686
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Asian domestic pig populations
  • European domestic pig populations
  • Microsatellite markers
  • Population structure
  • Wild boars

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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