V583 Animal Growth MC4R

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Breed:  All Breeds
Sample material:  Blood EDTA, Blood Heparin, Hair, Semen, Tissue


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The melanocortin-4 receptor gene (MC4R) has been implicated in the growth of an animal via regulation of feeding behaviour and body weight. In pigs, a mutation in this receptor has been found to be associated with changes in regulating appetite leading to hyperphagia, obesity and increased growth. The mutation is present in several pig breeds in which it can affect the meat quality.

The producer and breeder can decide if they wish to choose the fast growth form or the lean/efficient growth form of the gene. Effects are 3 days less to market weight for animals homozygous for the growth allele compared to those homozygous for the lean allele. Pigs homozygous for the lean allele have 8 percent less backfat and have a high feed conversion rate.


Chromosome: 1

Gene: MC4R

Mode of Inheritance: Multifactorial

Organ: Multiple systems


Year published: 2000

Clinical Features

Pigs lacking MC4R can exhibit hyperorexia, insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, disordered lipid metabolism and their livers may accumulate significant amounts of fat.

Additional information

There are many different factors, genetic and otherwise, associated with appetite and growth. One of these factors is the MC4R. It has been implicated in the regulation of feeding behaviour and body weight. It has been studied as a non causal candidate gene for the control of economically important growth and performance traits in the pig.


Omia: 2217

Pubmed: 10656927