Comparative analyses of QTLs influencing obesity and metabolic phenotypes in pigs and humans

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Sameer Dinkar Pant, Peter Karlskov-Mortensen, Mette Juul Jacobsen, Susanna Cirera Salicio, Lisette Kogelman, Camilla Vibeke Sichlau Bruun, Thomas Mark, Claus Bøttcher Jørgensen, Niels Grarup, Emil Vincent Rosenbaum Appel, Ehm A. A. Galjatovic, Torben Hansen, Oluf Borbye Pedersen, Maryse Guerin, Thierry Huby, Philipppe Lesnik, Theo H. E. Meuwissen, Haja Kadarmideen, Merete Fredholm

The pig is a well-known animal model used to investigate genetic and mechanistic aspects of human disease biology. They are particularly useful in the context of obesity and metabolic diseases because other widely used models (e.g. mice) do not completely recapitulate key pathophysiological features associated with these diseases in humans. Therefore, we established a F2 pig resource population (n = 564) designed to elucidate the genetics underlying obesity and metabolic phenotypes. Segregation of obesity traits was ensured by using breeds highly divergent with respect to obesity traits in the parental generation. Several obesity and metabolic phenotypes were recorded (n = 35) from birth to slaughter (242 ± 48 days), including body composition determined at about two months of age (63 ± 10 days) via dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scanning. All pigs were genotyped using Illumina Porcine 60k SNP Beadchip and a combined linkage disequilibrium-linkage analysis was used to identify genome-wide significant associations for collected phenotypes. We identified 229 QTLs which associated with adiposity- and metabolic phenotypes at genome-wide significant levels. Subsequently comparative analyses were performed to identify the extent of overlap between previously identified QTLs in both humans and pigs. The combined analysis of a large number of obesity phenotypes has provided insight in the genetic architecture of the molecular mechanisms underlying these traits indicating that QTLs underlying similar phenotypes are clustered in the genome. Our analyses have further confirmed that genetic heterogeneity is an inherent characteristic of obesity traits most likely caused by segregation or fixation of different variants of the individual components belonging to cellular pathways in different populations. Several important genes previously associated to obesity in human studies, along with novel genes were identified. Altogether, this study provides novel insight that may further the current understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying human obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0137356
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume10
Issue number9
Number of pages22
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sep 2015

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