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Abanico veterinario

versión On-line ISSN 2448-6132versión impresa ISSN 2007-428X

Abanico vet vol.10  Tepic ene./dic. 2020  Epub 02-Mar-2021 

Article original

Genetic diversity and population structure of Yucatan black hairless pig using SNP50K chip

Clemente Lemus-Flores*  1 

Rogelio Alonso-Morales2 

Hugo Toledo-Alvarado2 

Raúl Sansor-Nah3 

William Burgos-Paz4 

Dany Dzib-Cauich5 

1Posgrado en Ciencias Biológico Agropecuarias, Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit. México.

2Departamento de Genética y Bioestadística, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. México.

3Asociación Mexicana de Criadores de Cerdos de Origen Ibérico Yucatán, A. C. México.

4Corporación Colombiana de Investigación Agropecuaria-AGROSAVIA, Centro de Investigación Tibaittá, Colombia.

5Instituto Tecnológico de Conkal, Yucatán. México.


In the present study, the Population structure and genetic diversity of 104 Yucatan black hairless pigs (YBH) and 8 Duroc breeds were by using an SNP50K chip characterized. The population structure was obtained, as well as the calculation of Principal Component Analysis (PCA), Minor Allele Frequency (MAF), observed heterozygosity (oH), consanguinity (F), Fixation index of individuals within subpopulations (Fis), the t (outcrossing rate or alogamia index) was made, also the association analysis to identify SNP with population differences. The genetic component of Duroc in YBH subpopulations is low, from 0.00363 to 0.03532, THUS, IT WAS OBSERVED (appreciating) a subpopulation with greater genetic diversity and lower values of F and Fis, as well as higher oH and t. SNPs were identified (p<1.213E-50 to p< 6.4E-20), associated with genes and biological processes. Genes EHF, DST, PDE8A, FOXA1 and VCL are related to epithelial cell differentiation, morphogenesis, and development of epithelium. Other 30 SNPs are to nutrient metabolism related, 23 SNPs to nutrient transport, 11 SNPs to immunity, 10 SNPs to muscle, skeletal and embryonic, and 7 SNPs to synapses and receptors. YBH is distant from Duroc with different population structure and genetic diversity with different genes that involve important biological processes.

Keywords: genetic resources; SNP; genetic diversity; population structure; creole pig


La estructura poblacional y diversidad genética de 104 cerdos negros lampiños de Yucatán (NLY) y ocho de raza Duroc fueron caracterizados usando un chip SNP50K. Se obtuvo la estructura poblacional, se calculó un análisis de componentes principales (ACP), menor alelo frecuencia (MAF), Heterocigosidad observada (Ho), Consanguinidad (F), Índice de Fijación de individuos en subpoblaciones (Fis), índice de alogamia (t) y análisis de asociación para identificar SNP diferentes entre poblaciones. Según el análisis Admixture la población NLY se estructura en tres subpoblaciones. El componente genético de Duroc en subpoblaciones NLY es bajo de 0.0036 a 0.0353, apreciándose una subpoblación con mayor diversidad genética, con valores más bajos de F, Fis y mayor Ho y t. Se identificaron SNP (p<1.21E-50 a p< 6.4E-20), asociados con genes y procesos biológicos. Genes EHF, DST, PDE8A, FOXA1 y VCL relacionados con la diferenciación de células epiteliales, la morfogénesis y desarrollo del epitelio. Otros 30 SNPs relacionados con el metabolismo de nutrientes, 23 SNPs en transporte de nutrientes, 11 SNPs a inmunidad, 10 SNPs a músculo, esqueleto y embrionario, y siete SNPs a sinapsis y receptores. NLY está distante de Duroc con diferente estructura poblacional y diversidad genética, con diferentes genes que implican procesos biológicos importantes.

Palabras claves: recursos genéticos; SNP; diversidad genética; estructura poblacional y cerdo criollo


Since the arrival of pigs in America in the 16th century and their distribution throughout the new world, whether in natural or artificial selection, it has shaped the diversity of today’s populations. Burgos-Paz et al. (2013) described how the environment influenced the phenotypic differences between pigs in the highlands of Peru, in relation to those that inhabit lowland or tropical. Taking into account the wide range of climates in America, and particularly in the coasts, some pig populations are growing in size and relevance to human communities. This is the case of Yucatan hairless black pigs (YBH); this breed of pig has phenotypic peculiarities: black, hairless, flawless skin, black hoof and straight snout with an important participation in the food security of rural human populations (Lemus y Alonso, 2005).

The FAO Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS, 2020), considered that this breed was in danger of extinction, without a conservation program, and it is a valuable animal genetic resource that can contribute to food security in rural communities; as well as a reservoir of genetic diversity (Lemus-Flores et al., 2001; Scarpa et al., 2003). In addition, the status of 38% of pig breeds worldwide is unknown (FAO, 2019).

This hairless biotype comes from Iberian pigs (Sus mediterraneus), of African origin, introduced in all southern European regions (Benítez y Sánchez, 2001). They were later introduced to America on Christopher Columbus’ second voyage in 1493 (Ogata, 2019). YBH pigs are a genetic variation of Creole pigs (Su et al., 2014) and are divided into two genetic lines; one located in populations in the Gulf of Mexico and the other population is present on the Mexican Pacific coast (Lemus-Flores et al., 2001); it is called hairless Mexican, hairless or tropical hairless. They were at risk of extinction due to unplanned crossings with commercial lines of lean genotypes. Despite the fact that YBH is widely distributed on the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, with low to medium-sized technical management. Currently, some pig farmers have found a valuable way to raise it, but the available information is limited in the population structure or lineage.

To obtain a breeding program in order, a large population of YBH was using a commercial SNP50K chip evaluated, to estimate the diversity and the actual population structure, as well as their genetic relationships for the future selection of feet of distant commercial breeds.


Animals and genotype análisis

From a total population of 560 hairless black pigs from Yucatan (YBH) from 49 farms, located from Mérida to Tizimín in Yucatan state, Mexico; 104 breeding adults from 2 to 3 years old (17 boars and 87 sows) were selected, considering phenotypically characteristics of hairlessness (hairless), black skin, without spots, black hoof and straight snout. In addition, information about the origin of the sows or boars was used to reduce any relationship between the samples. In addition, eight Duroc sows were sampled as a reference population and they were used to assess introgression in Yucatan pigs.

This study has registration SIP18-076 from the Autonomous University of Nayarit and an agreement with the Yucatan Science and Technology Park. For the collection of blood samples, the recommendations of Official Standards NOM-051-ZOO-1995, on human treatment of animals, and NOM-062-ZOO-1999, of the technical specifications for production, care and testing were followed use of laboratory animals. The extraction and genotyping of genomic DNA from blood samples was carried out at NEOGEN ( For SNP genotyping, porcine GGP-50K was used, which identifies 50,967 SNPs (GeneSeek Genomic Profiler Porcine).

Quality control of SNP genotypes (Simple nucleotide polymorphism)

SNP data quality control was performed using PLINK v1.9 (Purcell et al., 2007). The SNP with polymorphisms <0.10 and MAF (Frequency of minor allele) <0.01, if excluded. The 42840 SNP were retained for further analysis of the structure of the population and genetic diversity.

Statistical análisis

Analysis of the population structure

First, an analysis of the population structure was to identify the subpopulations in YBH pigs performed with the Admixture 1.3 software (Alexander et al., 2009). Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was obtained with PLINK v2.1 (Chang et al., 2015) and a graph was constructed using Minitab v15 software to visualize the genetic distances between the YBH subpopulations and the Duroc breed.

Genetical diversity

For each subpopulation of pig YBH and Duroc, the minor allelic frequency (MAF), the observed heterozygosity (oH), consanguinity (F) and the index of fixation of individuals in the subpopulations (Fis) were calculated using the PLINK v1.9 program (Pursell et al., 2007). The t (crossing rate or allogamy index) was according to Weir (1990)calculated. To compare the YBH and Duroc pig sub-populations, the analysis of variance of a single classification criterion was used (SPSS v20, 2011).

Candidate SNP regions

With PLINK v1.9 (Pursell et al., 2007) for the entire population of pig YBH vs Duroc, the association was calculated to identify SNPs with differences. The genetic annotations in the candidate regions were using the preliminary annotation of assembly 10.2 obtained, provided by e-ensembl (Groenen et al., 2012). The over representation of Gene Ontology (GO) categories was determined using the Gene Ontology database (Ashburner et al., 2000).


Population structure

The first population structure was performed with a 10-fold cross-validation, to choose the best K value; the K=4 value presented the smallest cross-validation error (0.584). According to the mixture analysis, the YBH population is in three subpopulations structured (Table 1).

Table 1 Composition of the cluster predicted by ADMIXTURE (K4) 

DUR 0.99997 0.03532 0.00363 0.02726
YUC1 0.00001 0.69764 0.18677 0.18429
YUC2 0.00001 0.08993 0.64234 0.07703
YUC3 0.00001 0.17711 0.16726 0.71142

YUC1, YUC2 and YUC3 sub-populations of the hairless black pig of Yucatan. DUR Duroc breed population. The values per column of each breed indicate the proportions of other breeds.

With the ACP, YUC2 subpopulation is the most distant from the Duroc breed, with YUC1 and YUC3 closer because they share more Duroc genetic component (graph 1).

Graph 1 Analysis of the main components between subpopulations of hairless pigs and Duroc breed 

Genetical diversity

Positive values of Fis indicate consanguinity; is greater if it approaches 1; corresponds to the general reduction in heterozygosity observed in relation to that expected in its population; in the YUC3 subpopulation, the Fis value is lower, F and oH are higher, indicating greater genetic diversity (Table 2).

Table 2 Genetic diversity of black hairless pigs of Yucatan and Duroc breed 

YUC1 YUC2 YUC3 Duroc eem
Samples 70 14 20 8
MAF Mean 0.260ª 0.216c 0.247b 0.202d 0.025
Consanguinity (F) 0.039ª 0.067a -0.006 b 0.079a 0.011
oH 0.328b 0.305b 0.359 a 0.301b 0.011
Fis 0.079ª 0.142 a -0.007 b 0.158a 0.021
Allogamy index (t) 0.870b 0.782 b 1.0278 a 0.729b 0.027

MAF, minor allele’s frequency. oH, observed heterozygosity. Fis, sub-population fixation index. eem, mean standard error. Different letters in the rows indicate statistical different between populations (ANOVA, p<0.05).

A population approaches random mating if the value of t approaches 1, when it is greater than 1, there is an excess of heterozygotes and when the value is zero, all individuals are homozygous; in the YUC3 subpopulation, it approaches 1, being lower in the other YUC1, YUC2 and Duroc subpopulations.

Candidate SNP regions

In the analysis of association between the entire population of YBN vs Duroc to identify differences, 226 SNPs were identified with values of p <1.21E-50 ap <6.4E-20, of which only 93 SNPs were associated with genes and biological processes (Table 3).

Table 3 Biological processes, genes and information from SNPs that showed the greatest differentiation between YBH vs Duroc 

Biological process Chromosome Variants Identified genes
Epithelial cell differentiation, morphogenesis and epithelial development 2 rs81223208 EHF
7 rs80830437, rs331746636, rs81222725, rs81398056, rs325625775 DST, PDEA8A, FOXA1
14 rs80785304, rs345768654 VCL
Nutrient metabolism 2 rs713429023 PDHX
3 rs81317284 ST6GAL2
6 rs81390019, rs81390069, rs81390070, rs81390137, rs81285728, rs81317489, rs81226716, rs81318326, rs81475823 PABPC4, HPCAL4, MFSD2A, MC2R, MPPE1, IMPA2, PTPN2
7 rs80793059, rs342597254, rs80868794, rs80837023, rs80951652, rs80986501, rs80845345, rs80850402 GCLC, ADAMTSL3, HOMER2, UNC45A
13 rs81448371 PDIA5
14 rs339061874, rs328957349, rs345309524, rs80889570, rs80895748, rs80897302 CFAP70, CHCHD1, ADK, DUSP13
15 rs81241812 ACSL1
X rs327444342, rs322147119, rs81474003 FAM58A, BRCC3
Nutrient transport 1 rs328115005 VPS39
6 rs81389915, rs329679425, rs81389921, rs81251860, rs81389936, rs81389948, rs81389955 , rs81389959, rs81262099, rs81211910, rs81390112 MACF1,TRIT1
12 rs81261131 PITPNC1
14 rs81451083, rs81451108 MICU1, CAMK2G
15 rs343808632 TRAK2
18 rs81471732 SLC13A4
x rs326399484, rs337683495, rs81473903, VMA21, PASD1, ZNF185, rs81473906, rs80784223, rs80910586
Immunity 6 rs341367004, rs81306790 RNMT
7 rs81398013, rs80837723, rs80805016, rs80976160, s80849899 IL6
15 CTLA4
X rs328334089, rs327024720, rs336767148 IL1RAPL2
Muscle, skeletal and embryonic development. 4 rs326729657 ARNT
6 rs81389986, rs339432830 BMP8B, MYOM1
7 rs80816179, rs81398046 TM6SF1, CPEB1
8 rs81476832 TSPAN5
9 rs81305287 PRRC2C
14 rs327184000 P4HA1
15 rs80949190 SATB2
x rs81474001 VBP1
Synapses and receptors 3 rs81370102 SLC5A7
6 rs81337627 GRIK3
18 rs322407819 GRM8
x rs330548482, rs322056532, rs325753884, rs80918182 GABRA3, GABRQ

Considering the number of different SNPs between YBH and Duroc, on chromosomes 6, 7, X and 14, this is where the highest number was identified (Table 4).

Table 4 Number of SNPs identified on each chromosome associated with biological processes 

Chromosome 1 2 3 4 6 7 89 12 13 14 15 18 X
SNPn 1 2 3 1 27 20 11 1 1 11 5 2 17


The 104 YBH samples chosen for the study were hairless muzzles, flawless black skin, black hull and straight foci to avoid phenotypic variations. The ADMIXTURE analysis subdivides them into three subpopulations. The introgression of the Duroc breed is very low in the three identified YBH subpopulations (YUC1, YUC2 and YUC3) from 0.00363 to 0.03532. It is similar to that of the Pampa Rocha pig from Uruguay (Montenegro et al., 2015), inferior to the others Creole pigs in America, in which the Duroc component has an average of 0.15 and ranges from 0.00 (US Yucatan) to 0.45 (Moura Brasil) (Burgos-Paz et al., 2013). The hairless pig in the Mexican Pacific has 0.20 of the Duroc component (Lemus et al., 2001).

The separation of three subpopulations in the YBH and the low introgression of Duroc coincide with that observed by Burgos-Paz et al. (2013). Modern pigs in the Americas are the result of many independent colonization events, but also to environmental challenges; as these YBH pigs are geographically isolated, far from commercial and hairless pigs, located on the Pacific and Gulf coasts. There is no evidence of an artificial breeding or breeding program with commercial breeds on the Yucatan peninsula.

There is a difference in genetic diversity between YBH subpopulations; in YUC3 it is taller, approaching random mating. It is likely that individuals from YUC1, YUC2 and Duroc show matings from individuals with greater genetic proximity in each subpopulation, which caused an increase in F and Fis. With the information generated, it is possible to program the mating in the subpopulations, generate more genetic diversity and avoid the request for variability, as occurs in Iberian populations (Esteve et al., 2013). It is important to consider the statement by Yang et al. (2017)), indicating that populations with high Fis, normally present low diversity of haplotypes.

By identifying 93 SNPs that are different between populations of YBH vs Duroc, according to their extreme allele frequencies, higher frequency in Duroc and lower in YBN, we can use them as markers. According to Yan et al. (2017), domestication and artificial selection, gave rise to a wide range of phenotypes among domestic pig breeds, which differ from their wild relatives; and that these are to behavior, body size, fertility, ability to move and adapt to food provided by humans related. Therefore, it is important to detect genetic loci, which may be involved in the transition from wild to domestic.

Considering that the American pigs are part of Iberian origin (Burgos-Paz et al., 2013), YBH is phenotypically similar to the Iberian hairless, so that their coat is predominantly black and there are no white pigs. However, as Ramírez et al. (2015), there were no SNPs related to the MC1R gene, which would allow considering the red or black color of the layer. Eight SNPs associated with epithelial cell differentiation, morphogenesis and epithelial development were identified; with five genes that could be studied as candidates for the hairless phenotype.

This study does not coincide with Su et al. (2014), which proposes the BAMB1 gene as a strong hairless candidate; this gene was not different between the YBH and Duroc populations (p <0.35), with very similar allele frequencies. With Burgos-Paz et al. (2013) coincides with the PDE family genes, they report that in American Creole pigs the PDE10A and PDE11A genes are identified; the PDE8A gene is reported here. Esteve et al. (2013) in hairless Iberian pigs reports the FOXP1 gene as a candidate gene involved in the differentiation of epithelial cells, keratinization and the formation of hair follicles. In this study, the FOXA1 gene was identified, which is from the same family, also identified by Yang et al. (2017), which associates it with European pigs and relates it to the metabolism of proteins, glucose or fatty acids. For lipid metabolism Esteve et al. (2013)report eight candidate genes, not found in the PDHX, MFSD2A and ACSL1 report that were in this study identified; but for an immune response, these researchers coincide on the IL1RAPL2 gene, located on the X chromosome and IL6 on chromosome 7. On chromosome 6, the largest number of SNPs (27), involved in most biological functions, was identified. In this chromosome, for the transport of nutrients, ten SNPs were identified, for the MACF1 gene (cross-linking factor 1 of the microtubule-actin), identified in humans and mice as essential for embryonic development, to maintain the neuronal system and the integrity of the skin (Kang, et al., 2020).

For muscle and skeletal development, the SNP BMP8B has been reported as an important gene for embryonic growth and development characteristics (Xiu-Kai et al., 2013; Ying et al., 2000). For synapses and receptors, four genes related to brain and nervous disorders in humans have been identified what an opportunity for this pig to use it as a biomedical model. The GRM8 gene has also been reported by Kwonm et al. (2019) in Yucatan miniature pig, associated with nervous diseases in humans; similarly, the GABRA3 gene is associated with epileptic diseases (Niturad et al., 2017), the SCL5A7 gene is associated with myasthenic congenital syndrome type 20 (Pardal-Fernández et al., 2018) and GRIK3 in neurophysiological processes.

The high number of SNPs identified as different between YBH and Duroc can be attributed to the lack of selection and crossing with the Duroc breed. Although further studies are needed to validate the role of the identified genes, these findings confirm that domestication and evolution are different between Duroc and YBH pigs.


In this first study with SNP50K in YBH pigs, the genetic difference of this pig is in comparison to the Duroc pig identified, providing useful genetic information for the conservation of this local genetic resource. YBH is far from Duroc, with a different population structure, genetic diversity and different genes involving important biological processes, which can be useful in the racial selection and differentiation program.

Suplementary information

Tabla A. List of 93 SNPs and genes associated with biological processes.


This research was funded by the Secretariat for Research, Innovation and Higher Education, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico.


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Received: February 05, 2020; Accepted: June 03, 2020

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