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Pig genome research could help humans

Reuters – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) researchers say that new analysis of the pig genome has revealed new similarities between pigs and humans that could potentially advance biomedical research significantly.

A USDA release says additional findings from the study, reported Nov. 16 in the journal Nature, may also lead to better breeding strategies, improved pork production and improvements to human health. The research was conducted by a global team of scientists as part of the International Swine Genome Sequence Consortium (ISGSC).

“This new swine genome sequence analysis helps us understand the genetic mechanisms that enable high-quality pork production, feed efficiency and resistance to disease,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, director of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The study found that the pig and its cousin the wild boar have much in common with humans.

“The (USDA) scientists’ work revealed a high degree of similarity in the immunity genes of pigs and humans, a discovery that could contribute significantly toward the use of swine as a model in studies of both human and animal health and increase the potential of the pig as a biomedical model,” the release said.

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