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Genome research may bring better food to dinner table

by 5m Editor
1 May 2006, at 12:00am

IOWA - Max Rothschild has been trying to ''build" a better pig for almost 30 years, since he took a job cleaning up after the hogs at his alma mater, the University of California, Davis.

He's now a renowned swine scientist who has traded the pigpens for an Iowa State University laboratory dedicated to producing tastier chops and healthier pigs.

Rothschild is part of a national collaboration that earlier this year received a $10 million federal grant to map pig genes. Researchers from the University of Illinois-led project promise it will help take guesswork out of breeding.

The idea is to find and exploit the genetic variations of the best pigs, which Rothschild and like-minded agricultural researchers say will change the industry.

Mapping the roughly 30,000 genes in each animal requires extracting genetic material from its blood. The DNA is then replicated many times over and run through a computer known as a sequencer, which spits out the swine's genetic makeup in a code of four letters -- T, A, C, G -- representing the nucleotides that comprise DNA.

Source: The Boston Globe

5m Editor