The “huge” economic impact of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome on the global swine industry: Are we able to measure it?

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Porcine Respiratory and Reproductive Syndrome: the main cause of losses on pig farms. Is it forever?

Porcine Respiratory and Reproductive Syndrome virus has been defined as the primary disease causing economic losses in the Swine Industry. The terrible impact of PRRSv is due to mortality, abortions and respiratory problems in the affected farms. 


The cost of Porcine Reproductive and Reproductive Syndrome virus in the US has been estimated as $664 million annually. During 2014, PRRSv outbreaks have been reported in Asia, Europe and America, being the main problem in different surveys for swine veterinarians worldwide:



The most frequent routes of transmission between herds are the introduction of infected animals and the use of contaminated semen. Nevertheless, indirect transmission of PRRSv has been verified by several routes. Vectors, personnel, etc. 

As with other members of the Arterivirus, pigs can shed the virus at low levels or intermittently:


Semen can play a crucial role in transmission. This is due to the special features of the virus shedding by this route and the extensive use of artificial insemination.

If you want to avoid the risks and economic losses associated with Porcine Reproductive and Reproductive Syndrome virus, be excellent in your biosecurity procedures, use available vaccines when needed, and always ask your vet for more information. Genetic variability and a high virus transmission rate are the reasons why this disease is selected as the main health problem by veterinarians for the coming years.

How do animals become domesticated?

Wellcome Sanger Institute Blog

08 September 2014
By Bronwen Aken

Domestication is driven by small changes in many genes. Figure from companion paper,  '<a href=>On the origin of Peter Rabbit</a>'. Credit:  P. Huey/Science Domestication is driven by small changes in many genes. Figure from companion paper, ‘On the origin of Peter Rabbit‘. Credit: P. Huey/Science The domestication of plants and animals many thousands of years ago revolutionised human societies and changed the course of history.

Have you ever wondered how this domestication occurs? What changes happen at a genetic level to make one animal tamer than another?

Rabbits were domesticated only 1,400 years ago at monasteries in southern France. They’re an excellent model for studying domestication because we know when and where they were domesticated, and also because wild populations still exist in the region.

I’m a bioinformatician at the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) working as part of the Ensembl team. My team and I collaborated with researchers to understand what genetic changes took place when wild rabbits were domesticated.

The results of the consortium’s…

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Chasing the cause of chicken coccidiosis

Wellcome Sanger Institute Blog

15 July 2014
By Adam Reid

Credit: Thegreenj, Wikipedia Commons Credit: Thegreenj, Wikipedia Commons Sequencing the genome of the chicken parasite Eimeria has uncovered a fascinating quirk and could help us to develop more cost-effective vaccines that will target all seven species of the parasite. Coccidiosis, the disease caused by Eimeria parasites, poses a major threat to food security as chickens are one of the most important sources of animal protein worldwide.

When we looked at the DNA of this parasite, we noticed that each chromosome had an ordered, barcode-like pattern of repetitive sections of DNA code. These repeats often occur within genes and it turns out that this parasite has the most repeat-rich genes ever described.

While these repeat-rich regions disrupt the majority of protein-coding sequences in the genome, we have every reason to believe they are beneficial to the parasite, as they have been present in the genome for millions of years…

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