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Pig genome offers insights into the feistiest of farm animals
Date:11/14/2012

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. The pig and its cousin the wild boar have much in common with humans. They are world travelers. They're adaptable, invasive and often damage their own habitat. They are easy to seduce (with food) and susceptible to domestication, but when conditions allow, they revert to a feral lifestyle.

A new genomic analysis reveals some new, unexpected and potentially beneficial similarities between pigs and humans, along with a few distinct differences. The International Swine Genome Sequencing Consortium led by researchers at the University of Illinois, Wageningen University in the Netherlands and the University of Edinburgh conducted the analysis. Theirs is the most thorough genomic study yet conducted of the domestic pig and its wild boar counterparts.

A report of the study appears as the cover article in the November 15, 2012, issue of the journal Nature.

"It is exciting that the genomic sequence of the domestic pig now is in the public domain and available to enable more powerful approaches to domestic swine and pork improvement," said Ronnie Green, University of Nebraska Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and an early supporter of the pig genome sequencing project at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "It will also aid efforts to use the pig as a model for biomedical research and the improvement of human health."

"This new analysis helps us understand the genetic mechanisms that enable high-quality pork production, feed efficiency and resistance to disease," said Sonny Ramaswany, the director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. "This knowledge can ultimately help producers breed high-quality swine, lower production costs and improve sustainability."

The researchers compared the genome of a common farm pig, Sus scrofa domestic
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Contact: Diana Yates
diya@illinois.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert  

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