Splay leg is frequently observed in newborn piglets and leads to economic loss as well as welfare concerns. However, the etiology and pathogenesis of splay leg syndrome in piglets are still poorly understood. The aims of this paper were to characterize changes in the transcriptome of splay leg piglets and identify candidate genes responsible for this disease. We chose three splay leg piglets and their healthy full sibs, and constructed six RNA libraries using skeletal muscle samples from both groups and identified the differentially expressed genes between the two groups using RNA-seq. A total of 555 differentially expressed genes were identified, of which 216 were up-regulated and 339 genes were down-regulated in the splay leg group relative to the healthy group. In addition, 321 significantly enriched GO terms and 12 significantly enriched KEGG pathways were identified. FBXO32 is one of the ten most differentially expressed genes in our experiment, and it is regulated by the significantly enriched pathway (PI3K-Akt). The overexpression of FBXO32 which leads to the process of muscle atrophy might be responsible for congenital splay leg in piglets. The result of this study could help improve understanding of the molecular mechanism of congenital splay leg syndrome.
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