A genome-wide association study points out the causal implication of SOX9 in the sex-reversal phenotype in XX pigs.

TitleA genome-wide association study points out the causal implication of SOX9 in the sex-reversal phenotype in XX pigs.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsRousseau, S, Iannuccelli, N, Mercat, M-J, Naylies, C, Thouly, J-C, Servin, B, Milan, D, Pailhoux, E, Riquet, J
JournalPLoS One
Date Published2013
KeywordsAnimals, Disorders of Sex Development, Female, Genome-Wide Association Study, Haplotypes, Male, SOX9 Transcription Factor

Among farm animals, pigs are known to show XX sex-reversal. In such cases the individuals are genetically female but exhibit a hermaphroditism, or a male phenotype. While the frequency of this congenital disease is quite low (less than 1%), the economic losses are significant for pig breeders. These losses result from sterility, urogenital infections and the carcasses being downgraded because of the risk of boar taint. It has been clearly demonstrated that the SRY gene is not involved in most cases of sex-reversal in pigs, and that autosomal recessive mutations remain to be discovered. A whole-genome scan analysis was performed in the French Large-White population to identify candidate genes: 38 families comprising the two non-affected parents and 1 to 11 sex-reversed full-sib piglets were genotyped with the PorcineSNP60 BeadChip. A Transmission Disequilibrium Test revealed a highly significant candidate region on SSC12 (most significant p-value<4.65.10(-10)) containing the SOX9 gene. SOX9, one of the master genes involved in testis differentiation, was sequenced together with one of its main regulatory region Tesco. However, no causal mutations could be identified in either of the two sequenced regions. Further haplotype analyses did not identify a shared homozygous segment between the affected pigs, suggesting either a lack of power due to the SNP properties of the chip, or a second causative locus. Together with information from humans and mice, this study in pigs adds to the field of knowledge, which will lead to characterization of novel molecular mechanisms regulating sexual differentiation and dysregulation in cases of sex reversal.

Alternate JournalPLoS ONE
PubMed ID24223201
PubMed Central IDPMC3819277