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Research uncovers genetic marker that could help control, eliminate PRRS virus
Date:3/15/2012

MANHATTAN, KAN. -- A collaborative discovery involving Kansas State University researchers may improve animal health and save the U.S. pork industry millions of dollars each year.

Raymond "Bob" Rowland, a virologist and professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, was part of the collaborative effort that discovered a genetic marker that identifies pigs with reduced susceptibility to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, or PRRS. This virus costs the U.S. pork industry more than $600 million each year.

"This discovery is what you call a first-first," Rowland said. "This discovery is the first of its kind for PRRS but also for any large food animal infectious disease. I have worked in the field for 20 years and this is one of the biggest advances I have seen."

Rowland and researchers Jack Dekkers from Iowa State University and Joan Lunney from the Agricultural Research Service discovered a genetic marker called a quantitative trait locus, or QTL, which is associated with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus susceptibility. This discovery is a first step in controlling and eliminating the virus.

The research recently appeared in the Journal of Animal Science. The project's beginning and future center around Kansas State University, Rowland said.

It begins at the university because Rowland is involved with an organization called the PRRS Host Genetics Consortium, or PHGC, which initiated and provided more than $5 million for the research. Rowland is co-director of the consortium, which is a collaboration among the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Pork Board and Genome Canada as well as universities and industry members. Rowland is also director of the USDA-funded PRRS Coordinated Agriculture Project, known as PRRS CAP.

"The PRRS Host Genetics Consortium takes fundamental science and turns it into utility," Rowland said.

Kansas State University's
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Contact: Raymond "Bob" Rowland
browland@k-state.edu
785-532-4631
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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