Genetic correlations among carcass cross-sectional fat area ratios, production traits, intramuscular fat, and serum leptin concentration in Duroc pigs

K. Suzuki, K. Inomata, Kazuo Katoh, H. Kadowaki, T. Shibata

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26 Citations (Scopus)


Animals accumulate fat in tissues as subcutaneous, intermuscular, intramuscular, and abdominal fat. Genetic interrelationships of respective fat depositions, however, have not been examined in depth. This study estimated genetic parameters for subcutaneous, intermuscular, and abdominal fat areas of 545 Duroc purebred pigs slaughtered at 105 kg of BW. Measurements were obtained using an image analysis system for positions between the 5th and the 6th thoracic vertebra (56TV), at half body length (HBL), and at the last thoracic vertebra (LTV) of the carcass. Moreover, serum leptin, which is a hormone product that is synthesized and predominantly expressed by adipocytes, was measured to determine if serum concentrations of leptin are useful as physiological predictors of fat accumulation in pigs. The heritability estimate of all fat area percentage at the HBL (0.70 ± 0.03) was significantly greater than at the 56TV (0.53 ± 0.03) or the LTV (0.55 ± 0.04). Furthermore, the heritability estimate of subcutaneous fat areas at the HBL (0.71 ± 0.04) was greater than at the 56TV (0.56 ± 0.04) or LTV (0.60 ± 0.03). Moreover, high heritabilities were estimated for ultrasound backfat thickness (BF; 0.72 ± 0.03) on the left side at the position of HBL, intramuscular fat content of the loin (0.51 ± 0.03), the seam fat score (SFS; 0.49 ± 0.04), and the serum leptin concentration (0.62 ± 0.05). Increased genetic correlations of BF with the fat area percentage of subcutaneous fat and all fat at 56TV (0.90 ± 0.03 and 0.91 ± 0.03), at HBL (0.88 ± 0.03 and 0.94 ± 0.01), and at LTV (0.88 ± 0.03 and 0.90 ± 0.02) were estimated. The genetic correlations of serum leptin concentration with the percentage of subcutaneous fat area and all fat areas at each position were also high (0.72 to 0.82 and 0.83 to 0.84, respectively). These results suggest that BF and leptin are good indicators of selection for decreasing fat deposition. Increased genetic correlation of the SFS with intermuscular fat area at 56TV (0.74) suggests that SFS is an effective indicator for decreasing intermuscular fat. The genetic correlation between the leptin concentration and feed conversion ratio was high (0.75 ± 0.04). Results of this study indicate that the combination of BF and serum leptin concentration is a valuable indicator that can be incorporated into selection programs to improve carcass quality and feed efficiency in pigs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2209-2215
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Jul


  • Fat area percentage
  • Genetic parameter
  • Intramuscular fat
  • Pig
  • Serum leptin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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