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Brain gene expression differences are associated with abnormal tail biting behavior in pigs
Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Zoology. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology. (Etologi)
Science for Life Laboratory, Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.
2013 (English)In: Genes, Brain and Behavior, ISSN 1601-1848, E-ISSN 1601-183X, Vol. 12, no 2, 275-281 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Knowledge about gene expression in animals involved inabnormal behaviors can contribute to the understandingof underlying biological mechanisms. This study aimedto explore the motivational background to tail biting,an abnormal injurious behavior and severe welfareproblem in pig production. Affymetrix microarrayswere used to investigate gene expression differencesin the hypothalamus and prefrontal cortex of pigsperforming tail biting, pigs receiving bites to the tailand neutral pigs who were not involved in the behavior.In the hypothalamus, 32 transcripts were differentiallyexpressed (P <0.05) when tail biters were comparedwith neutral pigs, 130 when comparing receiver pigswith neutrals, and two when tail biters were comparedwith receivers. In the prefrontal cortex, seven transcriptswere differently expressed in tail biters when comparedwith neutrals, seven in receivers vs. neutrals and nonein the tail biters vs. receivers. In total, 19 genesshowed a different expression pattern in neutral pigswhen compared with both performers and receivers.This implies that the functions of these may provideknowledge about why the neutral pigs are not involvedin tail biting behavior as performers or receivers.Among these 19 transcripts were genes associated withproduction traits in pigs (PDK4), sociality in humansand mice (GTF2I ) and novelty seeking in humans (EGF ).These are in line with hypotheses linking tail biting withreduced back fat thickness and explorative behavior.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2013. Vol. 12, no 2, 275-281 p.
Keyword [sv]
Abnormal behavior, animal welfare, gene expression, microarray, pigs, tail biting
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-90431DOI: 10.1111/gbb.12002ISI: 000315957400012OAI: diva2:613291
Available from: 2013-03-27 Created: 2013-03-27 Last updated: 2013-04-22

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