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A multi-farm assessment of Greek black pig genetic diversity using microsatellite molecular markers

Author(s): S. Michailidou, A. Kalivas, I. Ganopoulos, E. Stea, G. Michailidis, A. Tsaftaris and A. Argiriou

Local breeds are important for the maintenance of genetic diversity and future food security. Nowadays, the worldwide distribution of pigs is dominated by a few breeds, tending towards a severe loss of pig biodiversity. Thus, it is critical to maintain distinct populations of pig breeds. The Greek black pig, a breed raised locally and known for the high quality of its meat for cured products, is the only traditional indigenous pig breed reared in Greece. We investigated the genetic diversity, based on microsatellite analysis, of the Greek black pig and evaluated its genetic uniqueness. One hundred and three pigs from 12 Greek farms were analyzed using 11 microsatellites. The total number of alleles amounted to 135, with a mean number of alleles per locus of 12.27, ranging between 10 and 16 alleles. The observed heterozygosity ranged from 0.363 to 0.825 per locus. The expected heterozygosity ranged from 0.471 to 0.707. The inbreeding coefficient ranged from -0.329 to 0.229. We conclude that the Greek black pig, despite its low population size, has a high degree of genetic variability, which will be useful for breeding programs aimed at maintaining long-term survival of this ancient breed.