Puberty is a fundamental development process experienced by all reproductively competent adults, yet the specific factors regulating age at puberty remain elusive in pigs. In this study, we performed a genome scan to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting age at puberty in gilts using a White Duroc × Erhualian intercross. A total of 183 microsatellites covering 19 porcine chromosomes were genotyped in 454 F2 gilts and their parents and grandparents in the White Duroc × Erhualian intercross. A linear regression method was used to map QTL for age at puberty via QTLexpress. One 1% genome-wise significant QTL and one 0.1% genome-wise significant QTL were detected at 114 cM (centimorgan) on SSC1 and at 54 cM on SSC7, respectively. Moreover, two suggestive QTL were found on SSC8 and SSC17, respectively. This study confirmed the QTL for age at puberty previously identified on SSC1, 7 and 8, and reports for the first time a QTL for age at puberty in gilts on SSC17. Interestingly, the Chinese Erhualian alleles were not systematically favourable for younger age at puberty
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