Dr. Lawrence Schook, Gutgsell Professor of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and colleagues recently published a paper on how the sequencing of the swine genome will impact human health.
The pig was first used in biomedical research in ancient Greece and over the past few decades has quickly grown into an important biomedical research tool. Pigs have genetic and physiological traits similar to humans, which make them one of the most useful and versatile animal models. Owing to these similarities, data generated from porcine models are more likely to lead to viable human treatments than those from murine work. In addition, the similarity in size and physiology to humans allows pigs to be used for many experimental approaches not feasible in mice. Research areas that employ pigs range from neonatal development to translational models for cancer therapy. Increasing numbers of porcine models are being developed since the release of the swine genome sequence, and the development of additional porcine genomic and epigenetic resources will further their use in biomedical research.
The article was published in the third volume of the Annual Review of Biosciences in February 2015.