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Breakthrough in Fight Against African Swine Fever

Scientists have discovered a gene in pig DNA that’s needed by the deadly African Swine Fever virus to cause an infection.

National Hog Farmer says this discovery could be a springboard into the development of pigs resistant to ASF, a swift-acting and severe condition that causes widespread illness and death, leading to steep financial losses for the world’s pork industry. The disease has killed more than 200 million pigs worldwide and is a major issue across Asia. It also has the potential to cause outbreaks in Europe and America. A team of researchers found that the gene is involved in a pig’s immune system and essential for replication of the ASF virus.

This finding increases the possibility of changing the gene through gene editing to raise pigs that are resistant to the disease. It could improve how farmers manage the infection for which no vaccine or treatment is currently available.

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