Porcine colonization of the Americas: a 60k SNP story

W. Burgos-Paz, C. Souza, H.J.W.C. Megens, Y. Ramayo-Caldas, R.P.M.A. Crooijmans, M. Groenen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


The pig, Sus scrofa, is a foreign species to the American continent. Although pigs originally introduced in the Americas should be related to those from the Iberian Peninsula and Canary islands, the phylogeny of current creole pigs that now populate the continent is likely to be very complex. Because of the extreme climates that America harbors, these populations also provide a unique example of a fast evolutionary phenomenon of adaptation. Here, we provide a genome wide study of these issues by genotyping, with a 60k SNP chip, 206 village pigs sampled across 14 countries and 183 pigs from outgroup breeds that are potential founders of the American populations, including wild boar, Iberian, international and Chinese breeds. Results show that American village pigs are primarily of European ancestry, although the observed genetic landscape is that of a complex conglomerate. There was no correlation between genetic and geographical distances, neither continent wide nor when analyzing specific areas. Most populations showed a clear admixed structure where the Iberian pig was not necessarily the main component, illustrating how international breeds, but also Chinese pigs, have contributed to extant genetic composition of American village pigs. We also observe that many genes related to the cardiovascular system show an increased differentiation between altiplano and genetically related pigs living near sea level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-330
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • high-altitude
  • pig breeds
  • r-package
  • selection
  • genome
  • adaptation
  • footprints
  • domestication
  • association
  • expression


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