Pig genome research for livestock production
The pig industry is one the main pillars of livestock production in Japan and domestic pork production ranks 8th in the world. The major focus of research on pig genomics is to develop genomic resources of livestock animals and provide information to contribute in the development of high-quality, safe and secure livestock products.
Research on pig genomics was initiated through the Animal Genome Research Project, in collaboration with the Institute of the Society for Techno-innovation of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (STAFF-Institute) and other related research institutes. The project focused on elucidating the genomic structure and function of livestock. Subsequently, sequencing of the genome has been undertaken in collaboration with the International Swine Genome Sequencing Consortium. Additionally, more than 10,000 expressed genes (full length cDNAs) have been analyzed to facilitate the characterization of annotated genes in the genome. The genome information is used to develop methods for discrimination of breeds or individuals by using DNA polymorphism, identification of the genes responsible for the number of vertebrae and meat color in pigs, and developing methods for detecting the association between gene polymorphisms and phenotype. With the effective utilization of genomic information, the ultimate goal is to identify the genes responsible for meat quality, growth rate, disease resistance, reproductive performance, and other traits, to develop gene markers that support rapid breed improvement, and facilitate the development of a variety of products corresponding to various needs of consumers.