Detection of quantitative trait loci for androstenone, skatole and boar taint in a cross between Large White and Meishan pigs

G J Lee, A L Archibald, A S Law, S Lloyd, J Wood, C S Haley, Sarah Helyar

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68 Citations (Scopus)


'Boar taint' is a strong perspiration-like, urine-like unpleasant odour given off upon heating or cooking of meat from some intact (uncastrated) male pigs. Data from the F(2) generation of a Large White (LW) x Meishan (MS) crossbred population were analysed to detect quantitative trait loci (QTL) for traits associated with boar taint. Fat samples from 178 intact male pigs slaughtered at 85 +/- 5 kg were analysed for the major contributors to boar taint (androstenone, indole and skatole). Fat and lean samples from cooked meat were scored for boar, abnormal and pork flavour and odour by a trained sensory panel (SP). A scan with 117 markers covering the whole genome was performed in the F(2) individuals, together with their F(1) parents and purebred grandparents. At the 5% chromosomal significance threshold (approximately equal to the genome-wide suggestive significance threshold), QTL were detected for the laboratory estimate of androstenone on chromosomes 2, 4, 6, 7 and 9. However, only on chromosome 6 were there QTL for boar flavour (BF) traits in the same or adjacent marker intervals as a QTL for the laboratory estimate of androstenone. On chromosome 14, QTL were detected for the laboratory estimates of indole and skatole, the SP score for skatole and the scores for BF in lean and BF in fat. In all five cases, the MS allele generally increased the estimate or score, compared with the LW allele, but it appeared that desirable and undesirable alleles were present in both breeds. This locus on chromosome 14 has considerable potential for use to reduce the incidence of boar taint, especially if further research can identify the causative polymorphism or strongly associated markers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-22
Number of pages9
JournalAnimal Genetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2005


  • Androsterone
  • Animals
  • Breeding
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Female
  • Male
  • Meat
  • Odors
  • Quantitative Trait Loci
  • Skatole
  • Swine


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