Myostatin (growth differentiation factor (GDF)-8), is one member of the transforming growth factor β superfamily. Investigations of GDF-8 null mice and double-muscled cattle revealed that GDF-8 has a profound influence upon skeletal muscle growth. Therefore, the GDF-8 effect upon the productive performance of pigs is worth exploring. In the present study, the nucleotide sequences and expression levels of GDF-8 genes in European pigs (Landrace and Duroc) and Asian pigs (Taoyuan and Small-ear) were evaluated. Based upon their genetic background these breeds possess significantly distinct growth rate and muscle production-phenotypes. Our sequence data showed that the nucleotide sequences of European and Asian pigs were 100% similar. Postnatal expression of GDF-8 gene in skeletal muscles, from birth to 12 mo of age, among different breeds was measured. GDF-8 expression levels in the longissimus muscle of neonatal European breed littermates were the highest, however it declined significantly (p<0.05) at 1 and 3 mo, and then increased gradually at 6 to 12 mo. The Asian breeds, however, GDF-8 expression level increased markedly at 3 mo and maintained a constant level thereafter. The results indicate that rather than polymorphism within the GDF-8 functional sequence between European and Asia breeds, it was relative to the gene regulation in postnatal muscle growth.
- Gene Expression
- Growth Differentiation Factor-8
- Skeletal Muscle