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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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Defra extends applications to Zoo Animals Fund

News Story 1
 Defra has extended the deadline for applications for the 100 Million Zoo Animals Fund until 26 February 2021.

Launched in June 2020, the fund provides financial support for zoos and aquariums that have experienced a drop in income caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Grants of up to 730,000 are available, which can be used to pay for essential costs and maintenance, including veterinary care, medicines, animal feed and staffing.

More information about the fund and details of how to apply can be found here

Click here for more...
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APHA confirms eighth case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in England

The Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) has identified an eighth case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 in poultry in England.

Confirmed on Tuesday (15 December), the outbreak was found in captive birds and poultry at a premises near Willington, South Derbyshire. A 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone have been placed around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

Further information about the outbreaks and the latest government advice can be found at gov.uk