Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) belongs to the Coronaviridae family and causes malabsorptive watery diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration and imbalanced blood electrolytes in pigs.

Since the 1970s, PED outbreaks have become a source of problems in pig producing countries all over the world, causing large economic losses for pig producers. Although the infection in adults is not fatal, in naïve suckling piglets mortality is close to 100%. In this study, we investigated genome-wide differences between dead and recovered suckling piglets from commercial farms after PED outbreaks.

Samples from 262 animals (156 dead and 106 recovered) belonging to several commercial lines were collected from five different farms in three different countries (USA, Canada and Germany) and genotyped with the porcine 80K SNP chip. Mean Fst value was calculated in 1-Mb non-overlapping windows between dead and recovered individuals, and the results were normalized to find differences within the comparison. Seven windows with high divergence between dead and recovered were detected-five on chromosome 2, one on chromosome 4 and one on chromosome 15-in total encompassing 152 genes. Several of these genes are either under- or overexpressed in many virus infections, including Coronaviridae (such as SARS-CoV).

A total of 32 genes are included in one or more Gene Ontology terms that can be related to PED development, such as Golgi apparatus, as well as mechanisms generally linked to resilience or diarrhea development (cell proliferation, ion transport, ATPase activity). Taken together this information provides a first genomic picture of PEDV resilience in suckling piglets.