The aim of this work is to better understand the genetic mechanisms determining two complex traits affecting porcine meat quality: intramuscular fat (IMF) content and its fatty acid (FA) composition. With this purpose, expression Genome-Wide Association Study (eGWAS) of 45 lipid-related genes associated with meat quality traits in swine muscle (Longissimus dorsi) of 114 Iberian x Landrace backcross animals was performed. The eGWAS identified 241 SNPs associated with 11 genes: ACSM5, CROT, FABP3, FOS, HIF1AN, IGF2, MGLL, NCOA1, PIK3R1, PLA2G12A and PPARA. Three expression Quantitative Trait Loci (eQTLs) for IGF2, ACSM5 and MGLL were identified, showing cis-acting effects, whereas 16 eQTLs had trans regulatory effects. A polymorphism in the ACSM5 promoter region associated with its expression was identified. In addition, strong candidate genes regulating ACSM5, FOS, PPARA, PIK3R1, PLA2G12A and HIF1AN gene expression were also seen. Notably, the analysis highlighted the NR3C1 transcription factor as a strong candidate gene involved in the regulation of the 45 genes analysed. Finally, the IGF2, MGLL, MC2R, ARHGAP6, and NR3C1 genes were identified as potential regulators co-localizing within QTLs for fatness and growth traits in the IBMAP population. The results obtained increase our knowledge in the functional regulatory mechanisms involved in these complex traits.
Puig-Oliveras, A., Revilla, M., Castelló, A., Fernández, A.I., Folch, J.M., Ballester, M. (2016). Expression-based GWAS identifies variants, gene interactions and key regulators affecting intramuscular fatty acid content and composition in porcine meat. Scientific Reports, 6:31803. doi: 10.1038/srep31803