Predictive markers in calpastatin for tenderness in commercial pig populations. Academic Article uri icon


  • The identification of predictive DNA markers for pork quality would allow US pork producers and breeders to select genetically superior animals more quickly and efficiently for the production of consistent, high-quality meat. Genome scans have identified QTL for tenderness on SSC 2, which have been fine-mapped to the calpastatin locus. The objectives of this study were to identify the sequence variation in calpastatin that likely affects tenderness in commercial-level pig populations and to develop definitive DNA markers that are predictive of pork tenderness for use in marker-assisted selection programs. We resequenced the calpastatin regulatory and transcribed regions in pigs with divergently extreme shear force values to identify possible mutations that could affect tenderness. A total of 194 SNP were identified in this sequence, and 31 SNP were found in predicted transcription factor binding sites. We tested 131 polymorphisms in our research population and a subset (40) of these in samples of industry pigs for their association with objective measures of tenderness. We identified 4 SNP that were consistently associated with pork tenderness in all the populations studied, representing 2,826 pigs from 4 distinct populations. Gel shift assays were designed for these SNP and 12 other polymorphic sites. Six sites demonstrated a gel shift when probes were incubated with nuclear extract from muscle, heart, or testis. Four of these sites, a specificity protein 1 (Sp1) site around nucleotides 12978 and 12979, a potential thyrotroph embryonic factor (Tef) site at nucleotide 25587, an unknown site at nucleotide 48699, and myocyte enhancer factor-2 (Mef-2)/TATA sites with SNP at positions 49223 and 49228 were allele specific in binding nuclear proteins. The allele frequencies for the tender alleles were similar (0.11 to 0.36) in the 4 different commercial populations. These 4 SNP were not in complete linkage disequilibrium with each other and may independently affect calpastatin expression, tenderness, or both. These markers should be predictive of pork tenderness in industry populations.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Nonneman, D., Lindholm-Perry, A. K., Shackelford, S. D., King, D. A., Wheeler, T. L., Rohrer, G. A., ... Moeller, S. J.

citation count

  • 18

complete list of authors

  • Nonneman, D||Lindholm-Perry, AK||Shackelford, SD||King, DA||Wheeler, TL||Rohrer, GA||Bierman, CD||Schneider, JF||Miller, RK||Zerby, H||Moeller, SJ

publication date

  • September 2011