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Gene expression analysis of mammary tissue during fetal bud formation and growth in two pig breeds – indications of prenatal initiation of postnatal phenotypic differences

DOI: 10.1186/1471-213x-12-13

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The expression of 11,731 probe sets was analysed between the two stages within and among breeds. The analysis showed the largest distinction of samples of the breed GL at 63 dpc from all other samples. According to Ingenuity Pathways Analysis transcripts with abundance at the four comparisons made (GL63-GL91, PI63-PI93, GL63-PI63 and GL91-PI91) were predominantly assigned to biofunctions relevant to `cell maintenance, proliferation, differentiation and replacement′, `organismal, organ and tissue development′ and `genetic information and nucleic acid processing′. Moreover, these transcripts almost exclusively belong to canonical pathways related to signaling rather than metabolic pathways. The accumulation of transcripts that are up-regulated in GL compared to PI indicate a higher proliferating activity in GL, whereas processes related to differentiation, maturation and maintenance of cells are more prominent in PI. Differential expression was validated by quantitative RT-PCR of five genes (GAB1, MAPK9, PIK3C2B, PIK3C3 and PRKCH) that are involved in several relevant signaling pathways.The results indicate that mammary complex development in PI precedes GL. The differential expression between the two breeds at fetal stages likely reflects the prenatal initiation of postnatal phenotypes concerning the number and shape as well as functionality of teats.


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