Comparison of prenatal musle tissue expression profiles of two pigs breed differing in muscle characteristics

M. Cagnazzo, M.F.W. te Pas, J. Priem, A.A.C. de Wit, M.H. Pool, R. Davoli, V. Russo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this study was to compare purebred Duroc and Pietrain prenatal muscle tissue transcriptome expression levels at different stages of prenatal development to gain insight into the differences in muscle tissue development in these pig breeds. Commercial western pig breeds have been selected for muscle growth for the past 2 decades. Pig breeds differ for their muscle phenotypes (i.e., myofiber numbers and myofiber types). Duroc and Pietrain pig breeds are extremes; Duroc pigs have redder muscle fiber types with more intramuscular fat, and Pietrain pigs have faster-growing and whiter muscle fiber types. Pietrain pigs are more muscular than Duroc pigs, whereas Duroc pigs are fatter than Pietrain pigs. The genomic background underlying these breed-specific differences is poorly known. Myogenesis is a complex exclusive prenatal process involving proliferation and differentiation (i.e., fusion) of precursor cells called myoblasts. We investigated the difference in the prenatal muscle-specific transcriptome profiles of Duroc and Pietrain pigs using microarray technology. The microarray contained more than 500 genes affecting myogenesis, energy metabolism, muscle structural genes, and other genes from a porcine muscle cDNA library. The results indicated that the expression of the myogenesis-related genes was greater in early Duroc embryos than in early Pietrain embryos (14 to 49 d of gestation), whereas the opposite was found in late embryos (63 to 91 d of gestation). These findings suggest that the myogenesis process is more intense in early Duroc embryos than in Pietrain embryos but that myogenesis is more intense in late Pietrain fetuses than in Duroc fetuses. Transcriptomes of muscle structural genes followed that pattern. The energy metabolism genes were expressed at a higher level in prenatal Pietrain pigs than in prenatal Duroc pigs, except for d 35, when the opposite situation was found. Fatty acid metabolism genes were expressed at a higher level in early (14 to 49 d of gestation) Duroc embryos than in Pietrain embryos. Better understanding of the genomic regulation of tissue formation leads to improved knowledge of the genome under selection and may lead to directed breed-specific changes in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • skeletal-muscle
  • sequence tags
  • myogenesis
  • growth
  • gene
  • differentiation
  • selection
  • family

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Comparison of prenatal musle tissue expression profiles of two pigs breed differing in muscle characteristics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this