Raising intact male pigs would have a significant economic impact on the pork industry. However, the presence of skatole (a major cause of boar taint) in meat from intact male pigs could be highly objectionable to consumer. The excessive accumulation of skatole in fat is a major cause of boar taint, and is associated with defective expression of cytochrome P4502E1 (CYP2E1). In pigs, it has been found that CYP2E1 is negatively correlated with accumulation of skatole. The searching for polymorphism of CYP2E1 and the relevant functional analysis would help develop a genetic marker for the selection of pigs with low skatole levels in fat. The aim of this study was to measure the expression pattern of CYP2E1 mRNA in various tissues of the pig, to identify genetic polymorphisms, and to evaluate the functional relevance of polymorphic sites with respect to the skatole level in fat. We show herein that a substitution of G --> A at base 1423 of the CYP2E1 gene in the liver causes a significant decrease in the expressed CYP2E1 level. Our data suggest that the G --> A substitute might be at least partially responsible for a high level of skatole in pigs. We believe that this is an important step toward the selection of genetic markers for boar taint by lowering fat levels of skatole in fat.
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