Saving our bacon: Gene editing could protect pigs from deadly virus

pig fence adapt
Source: National Geographic Kids

The meat and poultry industry is in need of novel methods to stave off infection. A group from the College of Animal Sciences, Jilin University in China has combined the gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 with the gene expression silencing technique of RNA interference (RNAi), to develop genetically modified pigs that are protected from classical swine fever virus (CSFV.)

Classical swine fever, caused by CSFV, is a highly contagious, often fatal porcine disease that causes significant economic losses in the swine industry. CSFV can be transmitted both horizontally (from one pig to another) and vertically (from mother to offspring), and both domestic pigs and wild boar are highly susceptible to CSFV infection.

Related article:  GMO that's not all GMO: Monsanto's rootworm-fighting corn seed uses RNA interference

The authors write that their work demonstrates that, “RNA interference (RNAi) technology combining CRISPR-Cas9 technology offered the possibility to produce transgenic animals with improved resistance to viral infection and that the use of these transgenic pigs can reduce CSF-related economic losses.” And that news, many can agree, is far better than headlines of bacon shortages.

Read full, original article: Genetically Modified Pigs May Prevent Bacon Shortages

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