University of Missouri receives $7.2 million to continue swine research

2 November 2018, at 12:00am

The University of Missouri has received $7.229 million for continued operation of the National Swine Resource and Research Center (NSRRC)

Pigs have long been a model organism for the study of human health and disease, and for the development of medical practices used globally. Established in 2003, the National Swine Resource and Research Center (NSRRC) has served as a resource for biomedical research by providing those researchers with access to such critical swine models.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have awarded five-year research grants to the NSRRC in the past, and this year have renewed that grant for the fourth time, awarding the centre $7.229 million for its continued operation.

Randy Prather, curator and distinguished professor of Reproductive Biotechnology in the Division of Animal Sciences and principal investigator at the NSRRC, has seen the benefits of the NIH grants first-hand. Prather and his team initiated the proposal for the centre in 2003 after they published the first genetically modified pigs made by somatic cell molecular transfer. Since then, many research teams have been granted the privilege of working with live swine specimens which has paved the way for a number of medical breakthroughs.

In an interview with Pork Business, Prather explains the broad work that the NSRRC carries out:

“The Center has two primary functions. One of those functions is finding unique models that are already out there and importing them into the Center. We can then serve as a central repository for distributing those models out to the researchers who need them. The second function of the Center occurs when individuals ask us for new models. We make new genetic modifications and ship those animals out so that the individual can do their planned research.”

Swine models have risen in popularity due to their size and anatomical similarity to humans, and it is likely that their use in science will continue to expand.

Sources Pork Business; Cloning and Stem Cells