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Animal Breeding, Genetics, & Genomics

Swine (Pig) Genome Effort

Advances in pig gene identification, mapping, and functional analysis have continued to make rapid progress, due in part to the efforts of NIFA, which funds the Pig Genome Coordination program through the National Animal Genome Research Program (NAGRP).

To date, the porcine genetic linkage map has nearly 3000 loci, including several hundred genes, and is likely to expand considerably in the next few years, with many more genes and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers being added to the map. The physical genetic map is also growing rapidly and has more than 3,000 genes and markers.

Due to the efforts of the coordination program, microsatellite primers have been shared with more than 40 labs worldwide and have been used extensively for quantitative trait loci (QTL) research. Several recent QTL scans and candidate gene analyses have identified important chromosomal regions and individual genes associated with economically important traits. The commercial pig industry is actively using this information and traditional performance information to improve pig production by marker-assisted selection (MAS).

Research to study the co-expression of thousands of genes is advancing, and methods to combine these approaches to aid in gene discovery are under way. This year the NIFA Pig Genome Coordination Program will help to make available the first large-scale pig oligo arrays for expression research. Because of the role of the pig in xenotransplantation and biomedical research, it is being considered for a complete genome sequencing effort. The pig continues to be an important animal for meat production and the study of human disease.

Contact: Max Rothschild, Coordinator, Swine Genome Committee.


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