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Weekly Overview: Gene-Edited Pigs Show Signs of Resistance to PRRS

28 February 2017

GLOBAL - The big news this past week has been the announcement by UK scientists that they have produced pigs that may be protected from an infection that costs the swine industry billions each year - Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS).

The research team at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute, in collaboration with Genus, used a gene-editing tool called CRISPR/Cas9 to cut out a small section of the CD163 gene in the pigs’ DNA code.

Early tests have revealed that cells from the pigs are completely resistant to infection with both major subtypes of the virus that causes the disease.

The animals are otherwise healthy and the change – introduced using gene-editing technology – should not affect their ability to fight off other infections, the researchers say.

In other news, a South Australian pork processor is under going a major expansion to become one of the biggest facilities of its kind in the country.

Big River Pork, located about 75km east of the South Australian capital Adelaide, announced a $14 million expansion, which will grow its workforce from 190 to 300 staff.

The expansion will also allow the number of pigs processed each week to grow from around 11,000 to 16,000.

Big River Pork's chairman Geoff Hampel said while the expansion would mainly service growth in the domestic market, there is room for further increase in exports into Asia.

And finally, this will be my last editorial on ThePigSite as I'm moving on to pastures new. I want to wish you all the best for the future and thank you for reading.

Lucy Towers

Lucy Towers
News Team - Editor

After graduating from The University of Sheffield, Lucy joined 5M in 2011 as part of the News Desk team. In 2012, she was promoted to editor of TheFishSite. With previous farming experience and a love for the great outdoors, Lucy has a passion for wildlife and the environment.

Top image via Shutterstock



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