Research in Swine Genomics

The genetic sequence of the first pig, a red-haired Duroc boar, was published in 2012.  This milestone was achieved through a global collaboration that has resulted in valuable insights for agriculture, medicine, conservation and evolution. Since then hundreds of porcine sequences have been completed as the cost of the technology continues to decline. Sequence information can be analyzed directly, used for comparing animals within a breed, or for comparing animals across breeds.

One category of genetic difference frequently used for comparison is ‘Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms’ or SNPs (pronounced ‘snips’). SNPs are used as genetic markers to track the ancestral heritage of regions of DNA or of individual animals. SNPs also can be used to predict the likelihood that a given animal will possess an individual or a series of trait(s). The latter can only occur once a SNP or a collection of SNPs is linked to a particular trait.

In our projects, genotype information from a wide range of swine breeds are used to develop accurate genomic predictions to assess the genetic potential of individual animals for various production, health, and quality traits. This information will, in turn, be used to make genetic improvement in Canada's swine populations.

Low-density (and low-cost) tests have developed that allow an animal's entire genome to be inferred from a comparatively small number of SNPs, thereby giving valuable information as to its breeding value. Our projects work with scientists (and data) from around the world, as well as leading Canadian and international pig breeding organizations.

Livestock Gentec is currently involved in 12 swine projects, many of which include collaborations with scientists at leading institutions, nationally and internationally. For more information on the individual projects listed below, please contact our management team or the principal investigator(s) directly. 

Project titlePrincipal InvestigatorDurationResearch / Strategic Goal
Identifying genomic predictors for Vaccine Response in Swine.Plastow, Graham2014-2017Health
New tools to enable effective genomic selection for disease resilience.Plastow, Graham2016-2017Health
Reducing frequency of early embryonic mortality in Duroc swine.Dyck, Michael2016-2017Health
Benefits of yeast derived mannan-oligosaccharide supplementation on piglet gut microbial profiles and health.Willing, Ben2017-2017Health
Genomic and metabolomic approaches to improving new economically important traits in pigs.Plastow, Graham2016-2018Health
Genomic and metabolomic approaches to improving new economically important traits in pigs.Plastow, Graham2016-2018Efficiency, Quality
Application of Genomics to Improve Disease Resilience and Sustainability in Swine Production.Dyck, Michael; Stothard, Paul; Plastow, Graham2015-2019Health
Identifying functional gene variants and non-additive effects to enhance the power of genomic selection of purebred pigs for crossbred performance.Plastow, Graham2016-2019Quality
Genetic evaluation of sow efficiency traits using single step genomic evaluation methods.Plastow, Graham2017-2019Efficiency
Phenomics for genetic and genome-enabled improvement of resilience in pigs.Plastow, Graham2017-2019Health
An integrative genomics approach to uncover genetic mechanisms underlying susceptibility to important infectious diseases in pigs.Stothard, Paul2016-2020Health
Development of genomic crossbred estimated breeding values (gcEBV) to maximize profitability for Canadian pork producers.Plastow; Kemp2017-2020Efficiency