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USDA funded research leads to key discoveries in the pig genome
Date:11/16/2012

WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2012 Research conducted and supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has led to a new analysis of the pig genome, revealing new similarities between pigs and humans that could potentially advance biomedical research significantly. Additional findings from the study, reported today in the journal Nature, may also lead to better breeding strategies, improved pork production and improvements to human health. The research was conducted by a global team of scientists as part of the International Swine Genome Sequence Consortium (ISGSC).

"This new swine genome sequence analysis helps us understand the genetic mechanisms that enable high-quality pork production, feed efficiency and resistance to disease," said Sonny Ramaswamy, director of USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. "This knowledge can ultimately help producers breed high-quality swine, lower production costs and improve sustainability. My congratulations to the International Swine Genome Sequence Consortium for this tremendous achievement."

The study found that the pig and its cousin the wild boar have much in common with humans. Researchers compared the genome of a common farm pig, Sus scrofa domesticus, with those of 10 wild boars all from different parts of Europe and Asia. Newly discovered details of the evolution Sus scrofa from the domestic pig first emerged in Southeast Asia and gradually migrated across Eurasia. The team found many significant genetic differences between the Asian and European wild boars, which separated from one another around one million years ago. Understanding the genetic origins of modern pigs is important in breeding efforts for disease resistance and growth efficiency.

Scientists from USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) developed the first-ever genetic linkage map of the pig genome in 1994, laying the groundwork for subsequent sequencing efforts, and have provided collabor
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Contact: Jennifer Martin
jmartin@nifa.usda.gov
202-720-8188
United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics
Source:Eurekalert

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