Positive impacts on pigs, people and the planet
The PRRS virus has ravaged the global pork industry for over three decades. Pork producers have relied on vaccines with limited efficacy and on-farm biosecurity protocols to protect their pigs from the PRRS virus – until now. PIC partnered with university researchers to develop a solution using gene editing technology. PIC deleted a small portion of the pig’s DNA that encodes a protein the virus uses to attach, enter and infect the pigs’ cells. Without the ability to attach or bind, the PRRS virus is unable to enter the cell, replicate and infect the pig.
PIC’s PRRS-resistant pig is developed to protect pigs from one of the most devastating diseases in the swine industry today, the Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) virus. This solution provides resistance to the impact of the PRRS virus, improving animal health and welfare and reducing the need for antibiotic use1.
Reducing waste makes protein production more efficient and resilient while creating value throughout the supply chain.
Enhanced Pork Supply
These combined benefits will help maintain a more reliable and affordable pork supply for all of us.
Healthier pigs consume feed and water resources more efficiently than sick pigs. This reduces inputs and waste, creating positive environmental outcomes, like reduced greenhouse gases and water use2.
A Gene-editing solution
Using gene editing technology, PIC created a genetic improvement that makes pigs resistant to the PRRS virus. When the PRRS virus gets into a pig’s body, the virus latches onto a small part of particular protein in the pig’s immune system, starting a chain reaction that makes the pigs sick with PRRS. PIC used gene editing technology to delete the part of the pig protein the virus needs to start an infection, preventing the start of the disease and the pigs from getting sick. Gene editing technology shows tremendous potential to help treat and prevent human diseases, including HIV, sickle cell and a variety of cancers, according to the World Health Organization. We need advanced breeding technologies, including gene editing, to solve on-farm and societal challenges including disease management, animal welfare, climate change, supply chain disruptions, and skyrocketing food prices.
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All claims about safety and efficacy of PIC’s PRRS-resistant pig are currently being evaluated by the US FDA. It is not currently available for commercial sale.
1Research from Iowa State University: Impact of PRRS on need for antibiotic use (2023) & preliminary data from Life Cycle Analysis conducted by Dr Greg Thoma from Colorado State University in 2023.
2Preliminary data from Life Cycle Analysis conducted by Dr Greg Thoma from Colorado State University in 2023.