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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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Avian flu outbreak at RSPB Minsmere

News Story 1
 RSPB Minsmere nature reserve in Suffolk has confirmed an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza on its site. The coastal nature reserve has seen an increase in dead birds recently, and has said that it is 'extremely concerned' about the potential impacts on bird populations, with 2021 and 2022 seeing the largest ever outbreak in the UK.

In a statement, RSPB said: "We appreciate that it is distressing, for both visitors and staff, to see dead or dying birds at our site but we ask that if visitors see any dead or unwell birds, they do not touch or go near them and that they report it to us at our Visitor Centre during its opening hours, or by emailing us on minsmere@rspb.org.uk outside of these times."  

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Moredun Foundation Award opens for applications

The 2022-2023 Moredun Foundation Award (MFA) is now open for members, with up to £2,000 available for successful applicants.

The MFA honours the contribution that education, teamwork, life experience, and travel have made to the understanding of cattle health and welfare. Through its charitable endeavours, Moredun offers its members the opportunity to pursue projects that support personal development.

The prize is open to a wide range of project applications, including those that include producing educational tools, conducting a small research project, or studying farming methods in other nations. For more information and to apply, visit moredun.org.uk