News last update:6 Aug 2012

Scientists decode genetic make up of pigs

An international group of scientists has decoded the DNA of the domestic pig, research that may one day prove useful in finding new treatments for both pigs and humans.

Pigs and humans are similar in size and makeup, and swine are often used in human research. Scientists say they rely on pigs to study everything from obesity and heart disease to skin disorders.

"The pig is the ideal animal to look at lifestyle and health issues in the United States," said Larry Schook, a University of Illinois in Champaign biomedical science professor who led the DNA sequencing project.

Ways to use the new information may include the development of a swine flu vaccine for pigs to protect them from the new H1N1 virus that is spreading among people.

Until now, researchers have unraveled the DNA of about two dozen mammals, including dogs, chimps, rats, mice, cows and people.

[Source: The Associated Press]

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