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  • Review
  • Open Access

Genetic and metabolic aspects of androstenone and skatole deposition in pig adipose tissue: A review (Open Access publication)

Genetics Selection Evolution200840:129

  • Received: 4 May 2007
  • Accepted: 25 July 2007
  • Published:


High levels of androstenone and skatole in fat tissues are considered the primary causes of boar taint, an unpleasant odour and flavour of the meat from non-castrated male pigs. The aim of this article is to review our current knowledge of the biology and genetic control of the accumulation of androstenone and skatole in fat tissue. Two QTL mapping studies have shown the complexity of the genetic control of these traits. During the last ten years, several authors have taken a more physiological approach to investigate the involvement of genes controlling the metabolism of androstenone and skatole. Although some authors have claimed the identification of candidate genes, it is more appropriate to talk about target genes. This suggests that genes affecting androstenone and skatole levels will have to be sought for among specific or non-specific transcription factors interacting with these target genes.


  • androstenone
  • skatole
  • pig
  • boar taint
  • QTL

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Authors’ Affiliations

INRA, UMR 444 de Génétique cellulaire, BP52627, 31326 Castanet-Tolosan, France
INRA, UR337 Station de génétique quantitative et appliquée, 78352 Jouy-en-Josas, France
INRA, UMR1079 Systèmes d'élevage, nutrition animale et humaine, INRA-Agrocampus Rennes, Domaine de la Prise, 35590 Saint-Gilles, France


© INRA, EDP Sciences 2008