Mitochondrial haplotypes of European wild boars with 2n = 36 are closely related to those of European domestic pigs with 2n = 38. Academic Article uri icon


  • Wild boars from Western Europe have a 2n = 36 karyotype, in contrast to a karyotype of 2n = 38 in wild boars from Central Europe and Asia and in all domestic pigs. The phylogenetic status of this wild boar population is unclear, and it is not known if it has contributed to pig domestication. We have now sequenced the mtDNA control region from 30 European wild boars (22 with a confirmed 2n = 36 karyotype) and six Asian wild boars (two Hainan and four Dongbei wild boars) to address this question. The results revealed a close genetic relationship between mtDNA haplotypes from wild boars with 2n = 36 to those from domestic pigs with 2n = 38. Thus, we cannot exclude the possibility that wild boars with 2n = 36 may have contributed to pig domestication despite the karyotype difference. One of the European wild boars carried an Asian mtDNA haplotype, and this most likely reflects gene flow from domestic pigs to European wild boars. However, this gene flow does not appear to be extensive because the frequency of Asian haplotypes detected among European wild boars (c. 3%) were 10-fold lower than among European domestic pigs (c. 30%). Previous studies of mtDNA haplotypes have indicated that pig populations in Europe and Asia have experienced a population expansion, but it is not clear if the expansion occurred before or after domestication. The results of the present study are consistent with an expansion that primarily occurred prior to domestication because the mtDNA haplotypes found in European and Asian wild boars did not form their own clusters but were intermingled with haplotypes found in domestic pigs, indicating that they originated from the same population expansion.

published proceedings

  • Anim Genet

author list (cited authors)

  • Fang, M., Berg, F., Ducos, A., & Andersson, L.

citation count

  • 35

complete list of authors

  • Fang, M||Berg, F||Ducos, A||Andersson, L

publication date

  • October 2006