Media contact: Dr. Joe Cassady, N.C. State Department of Animal Science, 919.513.0262 or firstname.lastname@example.org ; and Julie Woodson, N.C. Pork Council Director of Public Affairs, 919. 781.0361 or email@example.com
North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Pork Council committed preliminary funding that helped lay the groundwork for a new $10 million United States Department of Agriculture grant to sequence the swine genome.
N.C. State committed $50,000 and the N.C. Pork Council $100,000 toward the cost of sequencing the pig genome, said Dr. Joseph P. Cassady, assistant professor of animal science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State. Cassady was part of an international consortium that applied to USDA for the grant to sequence the pig genome. He said the willingness of N.C. State and the Pork Council to contribute to the project bolstered the grant proposal.
“There are all sorts of possibilities, in the short and long term, for what we can do with the pig genome once it is sequenced,” Cassady said. “I believe this project will have tremendous impact on North Carolina agriculture as well as important implications for human health.”
“This is a great opportunity for North Carolina,” said Dr. Gene Nemechek, DVM, president of the N.C. Pork Council. “The Council knew it was critical for North Carolina to be involved in this important project as one of the largest pork-producing states in the nation. The sequencing project will definitely have a significant impact on the future of pork production in our state, and we look forward to seeing the project move forward.”
According to a USDA announcement, the two-year project, headed by the University of Illinois, will lead to the development of new DNA-based tools to identify and select genetically superior pigs that resist infectious diseases, yield larger litter sizes, and produce leaner cuts of meat for consumers.
The pig genome is similar to the human genome in size, complexity and organization. Because of these similarities, understanding the pig genome could lead to future biomedical advances, such as pig-to-human organ transplants, according to USDA.
As a member of the project's steering committee, Cassady will serve as liaison between the project's scientists and the N.C. Pork Council and National Pork Board, as well as the N.C. State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and its research arm, the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service, communicating results and progress.
- Suzanne Standard, 919.513,3126 or firstname.lastname@example.org -
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