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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: NATIONAL ANIMAL GERMPLASM PROGRAM (NAGP) Title: Conservation of Swine Genetics by the National Animal Germplasm Program (NAGP) after One Decade

Authors
item Blackburn, Harvey
item Stewart, Terry -
item Purdy, Phil

Submitted to: National Hog Farmer
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2009
Publication Date: December 15, 2009
Repository URL: http://nationalhogfarmer.co./genetics-reproduction/1215-protecting-genetic-base/index.html
Citation: Blackburn, H.D., Stewart, T., Purdy, P.H. 2009. Conservation of Swine Genetics by the National Animal Germplasm Program (NAGP) after One Decade. National Hog Farmer.

Interpretive Summary: Given the continued threats to genetic diversity, and that this is the 10th year NAGP has been operating, it is useful to assess the progress made to date in securing animal genetic resources in general and swine genetic resources specifically. In 1999 the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) established the National Animal Germplasm Program (NAGP) with the purpose of preserving livestock genetic resources in the US. This decision was made because livestock genetic diversity was contracting due to economic pressures and exposure of livestock to catastrophic disease outbreaks, such as Foot and Mouth Disease which decimated livestock populations in the UK. The action taken by ARS mirrored similar activities initiated at the same time in France and the Netherlands. The primary avenue for NAGP conservation of swine genetic resources is through cryopreservation of semen, embryos and blood. From these tissues populations can be reconstituted if need be, or the samples can be used in genomic studies. The reasons for reconstitution are variable. The most obvious and primary reason for developing this collection is to support the swine industry in the event that breeds or industrial lines need reconstitution after a disease outbreak that decimates the national herd. Other use involving industry is to provide a diverse set of genetics which can be accessed, if need be, to introduce or reintroduce genetics for production or disease resistance that may have been lost. The US research community can also access the collection to reconstitute or develop new research lines, or as a source of DNA for exploring the pig genome. To date the swine collection represents the largest major category of the collection with 34% of the samples. As of December 2008 there were 1,121 animals (represented by semen or embryos) and 174,826 units of germplasm (semen and embryos). In addition to the well known pig breeds there are 25 industrial or research lines with 630 boars and 85,818 straws (0.5 ml) of semen in the collection. These populations are principally composites that have under-gone intensive selection by the various swine breeding companies and research institutions in the US. In addition to developing the germplasm collection research has been performed that evaluated various cryopreservation protocols, the post-thaw motility of cryopreserved semen, workshops for small pig producers and boar stud managers.

Technical Abstract: Given the continued threats to genetic diversity, and that this is the 10th year NAGP has been operating, it is useful to assess the progress made to date in securing animal genetic resources in general and swine genetic resources specifically. In 1999 the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) established the National Animal Germplasm Program (NAGP) with the purpose of preserving livestock genetic resources in the US. This decision was made because livestock genetic diversity was contracting due to economic pressures and exposure of livestock to catastrophic disease outbreaks, such as Foot and Mouth Disease which decimated livestock populations in the UK. The action taken by ARS mirrored similar activities initiated at the same time in France and the Netherlands. The primary avenue for NAGP conservation of swine genetic resources is through cryopreservation of semen, embryos and blood. From these tissues populations can be reconstituted if need be, or the samples can be used in genomic studies. The reasons for reconstitution are variable. The most obvious and primary reason for developing this collection is to support the swine industry in the event that breeds or industrial lines need reconstitution after a disease outbreak that decimates the national herd. Other use involving industry is to provide a diverse set of genetics which can be accessed, if need be, to introduce or reintroduce genetics for production or disease resistance that may have been lost. The US research community can also access the collection to reconstitute or develop new research lines, or as a source of DNA for exploring the pig genome. To date the swine collection represents the largest major category of the collection with 34% of the samples. As of December 2008 there were 1,121 animals (represented by semen or embryos) and 174,826 units of germplasm (semen and embryos). In addition to the well known pig breeds there are 25 industrial or research lines with 630 boars and 85,818 straws (0.5 ml) of semen in the collection. These populations are principally composites that have under-gone intensive selection by the various swine breeding companies and research institutions in the US. In addition to developing the germplasm collection research has been performed that evaluated various cryopreservation protocols, the post-thaw motility of cryopreserved semen, workshops for small pig producers and boar stud managers.

Last Modified: 11/23/2014
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