A recent research, conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Missouri, the Kansas State University, and Genus plc (a biotechnology company), has successfully produced a healthy litter of pigs that were made genetically resistant to one of the most deadly viruses for pigs through genetic editing in pigs.

The targeted virus is a coronavirus, more specifically the transmissible gastroenteritis virus which is highly contagious and infects the pig’s intestines.

Genetic editing in pigsThe researchers made a breakthrough with identifying an enzyme in pigs, the ANPEP enzyme, that serves as a precursor for the virus. They were able to produce a litter of piglets that did not produce this enzyme and in that way without the presence of the ANPEP enzyme were made resistant to getting infected by the coronavirus.

The research team only altered one particular gene and created a pig that was healthy and had no ill changes in any other developmental stage. This is a great discovery because the transmissible gastroenteritis virus is very contagious and very debilitating for pigs.

The researchers tested if altering this gene will have any effect on pigs becoming resistant to the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, but were unsuccessful there.

Read the original article “Study proves gene editing in pigs can prevent virus infection”.