U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


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Published in PLoS One (2013) 8(1): e55345. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0055345


To gain insight into differences in placental physiology between two swine breeds noted for their dissimilar reproductive performance, that is, the Chinese Meishan and white composite (WC), we examined gene expression profiles of placental tissues collected at 25, 45, 65, 85, and 105 days of gestation by microarrays. Using a linear mixed model, a total of 1,595 differentially expressed genes were identified between the two pig breeds using a false-discovery rate q-value ≤0.05. Among these genes, we identified breed-specific isoforms of XIST, a long non-coding RNA responsible X-chromosome dosage compensation in females. Additionally, we explored the interaction of placental gene expression and chromosomal location by DIGMAP and identified three Sus scrofa X chromosomal bands (Xq13, Xq21, Xp11) that represent transcriptionally active clusters that differ between Meishan and WC during placental development. Also, pathway analysis identified fundamental breed differences in placental cholesterol trafficking and its synthesis. Direct measurement of cholesterol confirmed that the cholesterol content was significantly higher in the Meishan versus WC placentae. Taken together, this work identifies key metabolic pathways that differ in the placentae of two swine breeds noted for differences in reproductive prolificacy.