The Hebao pig is a Chinese breed with high fecundity and vitality and excellent meat quality. This study aimed to explore polymorphisms of genes related to reproductive characteristics (ESR and FSHβ) and meat quality (MC4R, H-FABP, and A-FABP) by polymerase chain reaction – restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) in Hebao and commercial pigs (Landrace, Duroc, and Large White). Hebao and commercial pig crossbreeds were compared for fattening performance, reproduction traits, and carcass and meat quality. Piglet number per litter in pigs harboring the AA genotype for ESR was highest, with a significant difference between Landrace and Hebao pigs. For FSHβ, the AA genotype in Hebao and Duroc pigs produced the largest litter. The most abundant AA genotype in Hebao pigs produced lower backfat thickness compared with each commercial breed. Genotype distribution of H-FABP and A-FABP was significantly different between Hebao pigs and commercial pigs, reflecting Hebao pigs’ significant higher intramuscular fat (IMF). Reproduction traits of Berkshire × Hebao and Liaoning black × Hebao pigs were similar, with significant differences in individual weight at birth, weaning, and milking yield, higher in Berkshire × Hebao pigs than in Liaoning black × Hebao pigs. Hebao pigs have better fat distribution and meat quality compared with commercial breeds. In our preliminary crossbreeding study, a Berkshire and Hebao cross yielded the best hybrid pigs.
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Vol. 97 • No. 2