Newsham Choice Genetics studied more than 1,100 pigs to complete the first phase in a comprehensive study to discover and map genes associated with health traits in the animals.

Each pig was genotyped for more than 64,000 markers throughout the genome. "Consistent with what we've observed in our genomics discoveries related to production and reproduction traits, each of the disease tolerance traits we've studied is genetically complex and affected by many genes," said Archie Clutter, Ph.D., vice president of research and development for Newsham Choice. "While we expect some of these genes to be specific to a [Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS)] response, we expect many to be more generally important for disease and animal health."

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Phase 2 of the study will include the validation of Phase 1 results. The project's timeline includes first practical use of the results in the first half of 2011.