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Estimating the frequency of Asian cytochrome B haplotypes in standard European and local Spanish pig breeds

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  • 1Email author
Genetics Selection Evolution200436:97

  • Received: 20 December 2002
  • Accepted: 27 August 2003
  • Published:


Mitochondrial DNA has been widely used to perform phylogenetic studies in different animal species. In pigs, genetic variability at the cytochrome B gene and the D-loop region has been used as a tool to dissect the genetic relationships between different breeds and populations. In this work, we analysed four SNP at the cytochrome B gene to infer the Asian (A1 and A2 haplotypes) or European (E1 and E2 haplotypes) origins of several European standard and local pig breeds. We found a mixture of Asian and European haplotypes in the Canarian Black pig (E1, A1 and A2), German Piétrain (E1, A1 and A2), Belgian Piétrain (E1, A1), Large White (E1 and A1) and Landrace (E1 and A1) breeds. In contrast, the Iberian (Guadyerbas, Ervideira, Caldeira, Campanario, Puebla and Torbiscal strains) and the Majorcan Black pig breeds only displayed the E1 haplotype. Our results show that the introgression of Chinese pig breeds affected most of the major European standard breeds, which harbour Asian haplotypes at diverse frequencies (15–56%). In contrast, isolated local Spanish breeds, such as the Iberian and Majorcan Black pig, only display European cytochrome B haplotypes, a feature that evidences that they were not crossed with other Chinese or European commercial populations. These findings illustrate how geographical confinement spared several local Spanish breeds from the extensive introgression event that took place during the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe.


  • mitochondria
  • cytochrome B
  • pig breeds
  • Asian and European haplotypes
  • introgression

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Authors’ Affiliations

Departament de Ciència Animal i dels Aliments, Facultat de Veterinària, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, 08193, Spain
Area de Producció Animal, Centre UdL-IRTA, Alcalde Rovira Roure 177, Lleida, 25198, Spain
Area de Genética y Mejora Animal, SGIT-INIA, Ctra. De la Coruña km. 7, Madrid, 28040, Spain
Instituto Canario de Investigaciones Agrarias, Apartado de correos 60, La Laguna, 38200, Spain
Departament de Biologia, Laboratori de Genètica, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Ctra. Valldemossa, km 7.5, Palma de Mallorca, 07071, Spain
Departamento de Biología Celular y Molecular, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de la República, Av. Lasplaces 1550, Montevideo, CP 11600, Uruguay
Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala Biomedical Centre, 751 24 Uppsala, Sweden


© INRA, EDP Sciences 2004