Detection of hybrids between wild boars (Sus scrofa scrofa) and domestic pigs (Sus scrofa f. domestica) in Greece, using the PCR-RFLP method on melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) mutations
The melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) regulates melanogenesis in mammals within the mammalian melanocyte and the hair follicle. Common variations (polymorphisms) in the MC1R gene are associated with normal differences in skin and hair colour. So far, a unique MC1R allele (E+) has been identified in European wild boar (Sus scrofa scrofa), associated with the wild-type coat colour (variable shades of brown) that is not found in any of the domestic breeds. In addition, a series of alleles found in pigs, some of which observed only in particular breeds, have been proposed as markers in breed traceability systems. The current study is an attempt to detect possible hybrids between wild boars and domestic pig breeds as well as to identify races of pig that are not purebred. For this purpose, wild boars were analysed against Large White pigs, applying the PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) method. A high percentage (16.7%) of hybrids was detected within a breeding station compared with the percentage of hybrids within the populations of free-ranging wild boar (5.0%). These results should be taken into consideration for future restocking operations to avoid the chance of outbreeding depression, which is more intense when local populations are introgressed by gene pools from domesticated, usually inbred, animals.
KeywordsMC1R hybrids Sus scrofa
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