Detection of a quantitative trait locus associated with resistance to Ascaris suum infection in pigs

Per Skallerup, Peter Nejsum, Claus B. Jørgensen, Harald H.H. Göring, Peter Karlskov-Mortensen, Alan L. Archibald, Merete Fredholm, Stig M. Thamsborg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Helminths almost invariably have an over-dispersed distribution in the host population. Human and animal studies have provided evidence suggesting that a large part of this variation is due to host genetic factors. Recently, the heritability for roundworm (. Ascaris suum) infection levels in pigs was estimated to be 0.45. We used single nucleotide polymorphism markers to perform a whole-genome scan on 195 pigs experimentally infected with . A. suum. A putative quantitative trait locus for worm burden on chromosome 4 covering ~2.5. Mbp was identified by measured genotype analysis, although none of the SNPs reached genome-wide significance. To validate the putative quantitative trait locus, we genotyped two of the SNPs within the region in unrelated, informative animals exposed to experimental or natural infections and from which we had worm counts and/or faecal egg counts; the validation studies showed that one of the SNPs (TXNIP) was associated with total worm burden (. P<. 0.001) and adult worm burden (. P<. 0.0001), whereas the other SNP (ARNT) was associated with adult worm burden (. P<. 0.025) in these populations. We were thus able to confirm the existence of the quantitative trait locus on chromosome 4. This is to our knowledge the first report of a quantitative trait locus associated with helminth burden in pigs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-391
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Ascaris suum
  • Heritability
  • Host genetics
  • Immunity
  • Pig
  • Quantitative trait locus
  • Single nucleotide polymorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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