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Researchers Explore Genomics to Identify Resilient Pigs

09 October 2015
Manitoba Pork Council

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CANADA - Researchers working on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc are attempting to harness genomics to allow the selection of breeding stock based on their ability to with withstand a range of diseases and combinations of diseases, writes Bruce Cochrane.

As part of research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc, scientists are developing tools to enable effective genomic selection for disease resilience.

Dr Graham Plastow, a professor with the University of Alberta and CEO of Livestock Gentec, says the work has primarily focused on PRRS and PCV2 because they have the biggest economic impact but that focus is being broadened to include other diseases and combinations of diseases.

Dr Graham Plastow-University of Alberta:

In terms of the sow herd we've been looking at what we call gilt acclimation, so taking naive gilts and acclimatising them in commercial environments and there we might be interested in Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae and Swine Flu so a range of diseases.

As we take this work forward and look at resilience, because there we're hoping that we will be able to find animals which continue to grow when PRRS is present, but maybe they'll respond well with other diseases as well so we're really trying to get at what happens in commercial environments where there is more than one disease agent present.

We think, by doing that, we'll be generating results that will have a bigger economic impact across the industry rather than just thinking about what happens when we have a PRRS outbreak.

Dr Plastow says the goal is to be able to select for pigs that, when disease does come into production, the animals will continue to perform.

ThePigSite News Desk

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