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Pig ‘reference genome’ could provide benefits for agriculture and medicine

M. A. M. Groenen, A. L. Archibald, H. Uenishi, C. K. Tuggle and others

THE authors of this multi-author paper explain how they have assembled and analysed the genome sequence of a female domestic pig. This reference genome, they state, could be applied to benefit agriculture and extend the potential of the pig as a biomedical model.

Using a fibroblast cell line generated from skin taken from a Duroc pig's ear, clones of the pig were created. From these clones, the researchers constructed a high quality draft pig genome sequence and compared this with the genomes of wild and domestic pigs from Europe and Asia. They discovered that there was a deep phylogenetic split between European and Asian wild boars around one million years ago, substantiating the hypothesis that pigs were independently domesticated in western Eurasia and East Asia.

The genome sequence, they say, provides a valuable resource, enabling the effective use of pigs in both agricultural production and in biomedical research. Pigs are already used as models for human diseases, such as diabetes. To explore the potential for using natural models further, the researchers compared predicted porcine …

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