SREL Reprint #0653




Genetic Variability and Domestication in Swine

Michael W. Smith, Michael H. Smith, and I. Lehr Brisbin, Jr.



Electrophoretic variability at 15 to 20 loci was compared between four populations of swine.  Even though these populations had radically different histories, the same common alleles were observed at all loci examined.  The swine (n=207) were polymorphic at 6 to 25% of their loci and had an average heterozygosity of 0.034, which is near the mean for mammals.  Feral swine from the Savannah River Plant (SRP) showed significant temporal changes in allele frequencies between years but showed levels of genetic variability similar to that of domestic swine from areas peripheral to the SRP.  The domestic and feral swine from on or near the SRP did not share a common gene pool.  The population of feral swine from Ossabaw Island, Georgia, and the population of swine from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park showed lower variability than those from South Carolina.  The hypothesis that hybridization and a consequential increase in genetic variability has played an important role in domestication is not supported by our data. 


SREL Reprint #0653

Smith, M.W., M.H. Smith, and I.L. Brisbin Jr. 1980. Genetic variability and domestication in swine. Journal of Mammalogy 61:39-45.

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