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DNA discovery could pave the way to healthier pigs
The findings could help scientists accurately identify genetic similarites between pigs and humans.

Findings could help scientists develop pigs that are resistant to disease.

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute have decoded the entire genetic make-up of pigs in a development that could lead to healthier and more productive animals.

The findings, published in the journal GigaScience, could help scientists to develop pigs with desired characteristics, such as resistance to disease. They may also help researchers to accurately identify genetic similarities between pigs and humans.

Dr Amanda Warr from the Roslin Institute explains: “It’s a very exciting time to work in genomics. Genomes as complete as the ones we have produced would not have been possible without recent major advances in DNA sequencing technologies.

"The new reference genome provides scientists around the world with an accurate and complete framework on which to base their pig research, whereas before they were working with a very incomplete picture.”

The new reference genome was built using the very latest DNA-sequencing technology and provides information on the location of more than 21,000 pig genes.
Already, the improved quality of the reference has enabled researchers to identify a further 2,500 pig genes with an evolutionary link to a human gene, increasing the known number of such genes to 15,500.

Professor Alan Archibald, study lead and personal chair of mammalian molecular genetics at the Roslin Institute, said: “Pork is the most popular of all meats and, with a growing global population, we need to improve the sustainability of food production. The improved knowledge of pigs’ genetic make-up will help farmers breed healthier and more productive animals”.

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Special imports digital service set to change

News Story 1
 From Monday, 15 July, Special Import Certificate (SIC) applications will only be accepted via the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's (VMD's) new special imports digital service.

The original online special import scheme will be decommissioned. The VMD says that the new service is easier to use, more secure and reliable, and meets accessibility legislation.

The VMD is urging veterinary surgeons who have not yet signed up for the new service to do so before 15 July. The new digital service can be accessed here

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News Shorts
RCVS course explains concerns process

A free, online course from the RCVS Academy has been launched, designed to clarify RCVS' concerns procedure.

The content will give veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses a better understanding of the process, and what they can expect if a concern is raised about them. It includes details of common concerns.

The interactive resource has been developed in collaboration with Clare Stringfellow, case manager in the RCVS Professional Conduct Team.

Ms Stringfellow said: "We appreciate that concerns can be very worrying, and we hope that, through this course, we can give vets and nurses a better understanding of the process and how to obtain additional support."

The course can be accessed via the RCVS Academy. Users are encouraged to record their learning for CPD.