The imprinted gene DIO3 is a candidate gene for litter size in pigs

N.B. Coster, O. Madsen, H.C.M. Heuven, B.W. Dibbits, M.A.M. Groenen, J.A.M. van Arendonk, H. Bovenhuis

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Genomic imprinting is an important epigenetic phenomenon, which on the phenotypic level can be detected by the difference between the two heterozygote classes of a gene. Imprinted genes are important in both the development of the placenta and the embryo, and we hypothesized that imprinted genes might be involved in female fertility traits. We therefore performed an association study for imprinted genes related to female fertility traits in two commercial pig populations. For this purpose, 309 SNPs in fifteen evolutionary conserved imprinted regions were genotyped on 689 and 1050 pigs from the two pig populations. A single SNP association study was used to detect additive, dominant and imprinting effects related to four reproduction traits; total number of piglets born, the number of piglets born alive, the total weight of the piglets born and the total weight of the piglets born alive. Several SNPs showed significant () additive and dominant effects and one SNP showed a significant imprinting effect. The SNP with a significant imprinting effect is closely linked to DIO3, a gene involved in thyroid metabolism. The imprinting effect of this SNP explained approximately 1.6% of the phenotypic variance, which corresponded to approximately 15.5% of the additive genetic variance. In the other population, the imprinting effect of this QTL was not significant (), but had a similar effect as in the first population. The results of this study indicate a possible association between the imprinted gene DIO3 and female fertility traits in pigs
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere31825
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • quantitative trait loci
  • origin allelic expression
  • meat quality
  • genome scan
  • evolutionary conservation
  • swine chromosome-2
  • type-3 deiodinase
  • mouse-brain
  • muscle mass
  • igf2 locus


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