Journal of Applied Genetics

, Volume 59, Issue 4, pp 475–483 | Cite as

Transcriptome analysis reveals candidate genes involved in splay leg syndrome in piglets

  • Tao Wu
  • Xu Zhang
  • Mi Tian
  • Qiangqiang Tao
  • Liang Zhang
  • Yueyun Ding
  • Xiaodong ZhangEmail author
  • Zongjun YinEmail author
Animal Genetics • Original Paper


Splay leg is frequently observed in newborn piglets and leads to economic loss as well as welfare concerns. However, the etiology and pathogenesis of splay leg syndrome in piglets are still poorly understood. The aims of this paper were to characterize changes in the transcriptome of splay leg piglets and identify candidate genes responsible for this disease. We chose three splay leg piglets and their healthy full sibs, and constructed six RNA libraries using skeletal muscle samples from both groups and identified the differentially expressed genes between the two groups using RNA-seq. A total of 555 differentially expressed genes were identified, of which 216 were up-regulated and 339 genes were down-regulated in the splay leg group relative to the healthy group. In addition, 321 significantly enriched GO terms and 12 significantly enriched KEGG pathways were identified. FBXO32 is one of the ten most differentially expressed genes in our experiment, and it is regulated by the significantly enriched pathway (PI3K-Akt). The overexpression of FBXO32 which leads to the process of muscle atrophy might be responsible for congenital splay leg in piglets. The result of this study could help improve understanding of the molecular mechanism of congenital splay leg syndrome.


Splay leg syndrome Skeletal muscle atrophy Transcriptome Piglets 



Authors are indebted to Jie Yuan from Anhui Changfeng Primary Pig Breeding Farm for providing pigs for experiment and to animal molecular quantitative genetics team members from Anhui Agricultural University for experiment.

Author’s contributions

TW, XDZ, and ZJY designed the study. TW performed the experiments. TW analyzed the data. XZ, MT, YYD, QQT, and LZ contributed to reagents/materials/analysis tools. TW wrote the paper.

Funding Information

This research was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 31402037 and 31572377), the Anhui Provincial Natural Science Foundation (Nos. 1508085QC52), and the planning subject of ‘the twelfth five-year-plan’ (No. 2015BAD03B01).

Compliance with ethical standards

All experimental procedures were performed according to the Regulations for the Administration of Affairs Concerning Experimental Animals (Ministry of Science and Technology, China; revised in June 2004) and approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei, China, under permit No. WT-P20150910. This report fully adhered to the ARRIVE Guidelines for the reporting of animal research (Kilkenny et al. 2010).

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Institute of Plant Genetics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poznan 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tao Wu
    • 1
  • Xu Zhang
    • 1
  • Mi Tian
    • 1
  • Qiangqiang Tao
    • 1
  • Liang Zhang
    • 1
  • Yueyun Ding
    • 1
  • Xiaodong Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zongjun Yin
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Local Animal Genetic Resources Conservation and Bio-breeding of Anhui province, College of Animal Science and TechnologyAnhui Agricultural UniversityHefeiPeople’s Republic of China

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