New techniques in high-throughput sequencing have allow to sequence and analyse by 1% of the total genome of an Iberian pig.
Researchers from the School of Veterinary Medicine, Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and the Centre for Research in Agrigenomics (CRAG), Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona and the National Institute for Research and Technology Agriculture and Food in Madrid just published the first partial genome sequence of an Iberian pig. Specifically, using new sequencing techniques are high performance, has been sequenced and analyzed by 1% of the total genome. It happens also that this is the first published pig sequence. The work, coordinated by the ICREA researcher Miguel Pérez-Enciso, has been published in the online edition of the journal Heredity.
The female animal is a sequenced strain of Guadyerbas, a very particular line that has remained isolated (in purity) in an experimental farm in Castilla-La Mancha, Oropesa, Toledo, since 1945, thanks to the efforts of INIA researchers.
Guadyerbas line therefore represents one of the few original Iberian pig strains that remains in our country. Animals are very hungry, slow growth, high-fat, hairless and black cape. These animals have been used by the UAB and INIA researchers in numerous experiments to identify the genetic basis of meat quality in Iberian pigs. Therefore, it is expected that the complete sequence give clues about these and other characters.
The sequencing animal is highly inbred because the herd has remained isolated for more than 50 years. Despite its high consanguinity, there is a diversity that represents about half of all stocks existing in Europe. This is important from the point of view of conservation, since it shows that the Iberian pig is highly representative of European populations.
The comparison between regions of high and low variability in the genome will give clues about which genes are most important for the Iberian pig. Among the more variable regions are genes related to the olfactory system and the immune system, among the least variable, genes related to metabolism of carbohydrates.
The study of this regions in the genome with higher differences between white and Iberian pig will inform researchers and breeders about why an Iberian pig has special characteristics that make it unique from a genetic standpoint. This analysis, more detailed, will be delayed until the complete sequence of the pig will be finished. This study is carried out by an international consortium and should be finished this year.