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DNA study offers fresh insights into pig muscle growth
The findings could be used to predict muscle growth in developing pigs.
Researchers hope their findings will help to support breeding selection programmes.

New research revealing insights into pig muscle development could lead to new tools to inform breeding selection.

The findings are published in G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics by a team from the Roslin Institute and the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health.

In the study, researchers analysed DNA in frozen tissue samples from muscle in piglets at various stages of development. Through this, they were able to pinpoint regions of DNA that control activity in genes linked to muscle growth and study activity in these genes. 

The scientists noted variations in regions of DNA between small and large piglets, suggesting a difference in how DNA is regulated, which subsequently governs muscle growth between large and small piglets. 

It is hoped the findings could help to predict muscle growth in developing pigs, to produce litters with fewer very small piglets. The improved knowledge could also underpin research into other areas of pigs' development, health and welfare.

Looking ahead, the team hopes to identify variations in the genetic code of pigs associated with growth and better understand how these differences regulate the activity of genes involved in muscle development to inform pig breeding programmes.

They also hope to apply their method of analysing frozen tissue to investigate how the genetic code of livestock controls their characteristics. The use of frozen tissues samples can also help to limit the number of animals used for research. 

Dr Emily Clark, from the Roslin Institute, explains: “Pigs are widely farmed and it is important that we understand their biology, including detailed knowledge of their genetic code. Our findings help to improve understanding of the pig genome and will support further research to aid breeding selection programmes.”

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Laura Muir wins gold at Commonwealth Games

News Story 1
 Veterinary surgeon and Olympic silver-medalist Laura Muir scooped the gold medal in the 1500m final Commonwealth Games on Sunday.

Winning Scotland's 12th title of the games, Muir finished in four minutes 2.75 seconds, collecting her second medal in 24 hours.

Dr Muir commented on her win: "I just thought my strength is in my kick and I just tried to trust it and hope nobody would catch me. I ran as hard as I could to the line.

"It is so nice to come here and not just get one medal but two and in such a competitive field. Those girls are fast. It means a lot." 

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News Shorts
Views sought on NOAH Compendium

Users of the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) Compendium app and website are being asked to share their views on how it can be improved.

In a new survey, users are asked about some suggested future developments, such as notifications for new and updated datasheets, sharing links to datasheets, and enhanced search functionality.

It comes after NOAH ceased publication of the NOAH Compendium book as part of its sustainability and environmental commitments. The website and the app will now be the main routes to access datasheets and view any changes.