CRISPRed pigs: Precision porcine gene editing combats PPRS virus threat

Genome editing using CRISPR (pronounced ‘crisper’, stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) has demonstrated success in treating sickle cell disease, and various companies are actively pursuing the development of CRISPR-based therapeutics. It is a logical progression for this technology to extend its reach to animals. Recently, a team of scientists at Genus, a British animal genetics company, with research facilities in Wisconsin and Tennessee in the United States, achieved a breakthrough by developing a new generation of CRISPR-edited pigs resistant to the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus. This disease has long plagued porcine populations worldwide.

The specific methodology employed in editing these pigs has been detailed in a recently published report titled “Generation of a commercial-scale founder population of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus resistant pigs using CRISPR-Cas,” available in The CRISPR Journal.

“This is a milestone study illustrating the potential of CRISPR-based technologies for commercial livestock breeding,” said Dr Rodolphe Barrangou, professor of food, bioprocessing, and nutrition sciences at North Carolina State University and editor-in-chief of The CRISPR Journal.

This article was first published by Uduak Thomas on 14 February 2024, click here to read more.

The South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO) coordinates industry interventions and collaboratively manages risks in the value chain to enable the sustainability and profitability of pork producers in South Africa.