In the 1980s, Korean native black pigs from Jeju Island (Jeju black pigs) served as representative sample of Korean native black pigs, and efforts were made to help the species rebound from the brink of extinction, which occurred as a result of the introduction of Western pig breeds. Geographical separation of Jeju Island from the Korean peninsula has allowed Jeju black pigs not only to acquire unique characteristics but also to retain merits of rare Korean native black pigs.
To further analyze the Jeju black pig genome, we performed whole-genome re-sequencing (average read depth of 14×) of 8 Jeju black pig and 6 Korean pigs (which live on the Korean peninsula) to compare and identify putative signatures of positive selection in Jeju black pig, the true and pure Korean native black pigs. The candidate genes potentially under positive selection in Jeju black pig support previous reports of high marbling score, rare occurrence of pale, soft, exudative (PSE) meat, but low growth rate and carcass weight compared to Western breeds.
Several candidate genes potentially under positive selection were involved in fatty acid transport and may have contributed to the unique characteristics of meat quality in JBP. Jeju black pigs can offer a unique opportunity to investigate the true genetic resource of once endangered Korean native black pigs. Further genome-wide analyses of Jeju black pigs on a larger population scale are required in order to define a conservation strategy and improvement of native pig resources."