Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Pig's Genome Sequence

The impact of pig, cucumber genome sequencing on agriculture, medicine, lunch
Nov 3, 2009

Bacon and cucumber sandwiches, anyone?

Scientists this week announced the sequencing of both the pig and cucumber genomes, with possible implications for agriculture – though probably not better lunch foods.

The swine genome was completed by an international team of scientists and funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Pigs are not only popular meat-producers, they’re also remarkably similar to humans at the cellular level, making them prime contenders for the production of both replacement organs for people and the possible production of medicines.

The draft genetic sequence, about 98% of the full one, gives researchers and breeders information to help them enhance immunity, breed more salable pigs and possibly gain insight in to disease that affect not only swine but also humans.

The research, begun in 2006, cost $24.3 million and was shared by American, Asian and European funders. It was done at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The pig was a red-haired Duroc. Read More

Genome sequencing will certainly help us in the future to learn more about our food crops and how we can improve them and protect them. Especially in the case of the pig, the potential to save so many lives is very intriguing. Science and technology continues to improve our food and medicine. We need to continue supporting these advances so that maybe one day, our descendants will only read about some of our most common diseases in the history books.

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