Male pigs used for pork production are normally castrated very early in life to prevent boar taint or sex taint in the meat. However, castration will be prohibited in the near future and a major challenge for the pig production industries in the next 5-10 years is to decrease the boar taint in meat from uncastrated male pigs, without simultaneously decreasing fertility traits. One of the most realistic strategies to achieve this seems to identifying genetic factors involved in development of boar taint an d reduce the problem by selective breeding.
Two compounds, androstenone and skatol, are mainly responsible for boar taint in intact boars. In this project we will utilise the knowledge from literature about synthesis and metabolism of both androstenone a nd skatole, together with recent developments in functional, statistical and computational genomics, to identify and study the complex interactions between genes and gene products (proteins) in an integrative way. The detection of genetic factors influenc ing boar taint may allow for implementation in practical breeding to produce pigs that are free or produce low levels of taint. However, before starting such selection we also need to know how other correlated traits (like fertility traits) will be influe nced by the selection. Total project costs (4 years) are estimated to 38 mill NOK, while we apply for 17 mill NOK.