Crop Biotech Update

GM Pigs Resist Infection from Classical Swine Fever Virus

December 19, 2018

Researchers have developed genetically modified (GM) pigs that are resistant to the classical swine fever virus (CSFV), a widespread, highly contagious, often fatal disease that causes significant economic losses. The study, led by Hongsheng Ouyang and colleagues from Jilin University, is published in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens.

The researchers investigated the biology of CSFV extensively, as there is an urgent need to develop effective approaches to eradicate CSFV. Ouyang and colleagues generated CSFV-resistant pigs by combining the gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 with RNA interference (RNAi), a technique that silences gene expression.

The researchers showed that the GM pigs could effectively limit the replication of CSFV and reduce CSFV-associated clinical signs and mortality. Disease resistance could also be stably transmitted to first-generation offspring. Currently, the researchers are conducting long-term studies to monitor the safety and effectiveness of this approach as these animals age.

For more details, read the open access paper in PLOS Pathogens.