Family of melanocortin receptor (MCR) genes in mammals—mutations, polymorphisms and phenotypic effects
The melanocortin 4 receptor (MC4R) is a key factor in the regulation of energy balance and body weight. Hence it is a candidate for feed intake and energy homeostasis-related traits. Studies in humans and swine have revealed several sequence variants in the gene that are associated with some of these traits. In pigs the coding non-synonymous missense variant Asp298Asn in MC4R has been associated with feed intake, fatness and growth. Here we confirm the association of this Piétrain-derived polymorphism with feed intake and daily gain in the F2 generation of a Mangalitsa x Piétrain cross. In one Piétrain founder animal, we detected an additional non-synonymous missense variant Arg236His. Thus, the MC4R gene could be a useful marker for increased growth in the relatively slow-growing Piétrain breed.