Scientists Link Pig Stress Syndrome to Gene Defect

USDA scientists have discovered that a gene defect is the cause of a newly discovered stress syndrome in pigs. Stress-related issues cost the U.S. swine industry an estimated 50-million dollars a year - and it's been suspected that undetected stress-related syndromes are affecting the health and well-being of pigs. Agricultural Research Service scientists discovered a stress syndrome in two three-month-old male siblings and mapped the stress disorder to a genetic mutation in dystrophin. To map the disease - the scientists re-mated the original parents of the affected siblings to produce additional litters. Of the 250 offspring - 49 piglets were affected. The animals with the stress condition had half as much dystrophin protein as their unaffected siblings. Those suspected of having the syndrome also had three times as much creatine phosphokinase. According to the research - the gene is located on the X chromosome - and the syndrome is found primarily in males that inherit the affected X chromosome from their mother.

Read more about this research in the Agricultural Research magazine available online at www dot ars dot usda dot gov (www.ars.usda.gov).

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