Recombinetics, a pioneer in gene editing solutions for animal agriculture and human health, and DNA Genetics, a swine genetics supplier, today announced an alliance to end surgical castrations by developing precision breeding technology that results in male piglets born naturally castrated. This breeding technology focuses on swine health and well-being while ensuring good meat quality.
This partnership will help evaluate, develop and commercialize the castration-free swine trait with the goal to get the technology into the hands of pork producers globally.
Male piglets used for pork production are routinely castrated to improve the quality of meat for consumers. Castration is used to avoid “boar taint”, an unpleasant odor and an unsavory taste, that affects the pork product’s marketability to consumers. Currently, castrations are performed surgically or chemically, impacting animal well-being and adding health risks to animals from potential side effects of these management interventions.
Scientists at Recombinetics developed a precision breeding method resulting in male piglets that remain in a pre-pubertal state. This approach will eliminate the need for castration, either surgical or medicinal. To determine the commercial viability of pigs bred to be castration-free, alliance researchers will evaluate findings to investigate feed efficiency, meat quality and best practices for recovery of puberty and fertility. Research is being led by Principal Investigator Tad Sonstegard, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Acceligen, Recombinetics’ agriculture division.
“We create technology-driven solutions that improve animal health and well-being. From producing naturally hornless cattle to now eliminating the routine castration of swine, we have a proven track record of bringing science-based solutions to benefit animal health. By partnering with industry leader DNA Genetics, we have the combined expertise to bring the castration-free trait to market and provide solutions that can benefit the entire pork industry,” said Recombinetics’ President and CEO, Tammy Lee Stanoch.
“Precision breeding includes a range of technologies that will have a strong impact on genetic improvement programs. We are pleased to be a part of furthering these technologies and increasing our understanding of precision breeding and its application in a breeding system. This specific project is an innovative use of precision breeding techniques that have the potential of improving both animal health and efficiency. We are pleased to be a part of making this technology available to the pork industry,” Tom Rathje, Chief Technical Officer, DNA Genetics.
“To support the needs of the international swine marketplace, we will continue to explore additional opportunities to deploy our technologies with key partners that support the importance of improving animal health and well-being,” said Recombinetics’ Chief Commercial and Scientific Officer, Mitch Abrahamsen, Ph.D.
On December 14, 2017, The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) awarded a $500,000 grant to Recombinetics to use new techniques to breed swine that will eliminate the need for surgical castration. Additional funding is provided by The Open Philanthropy Project. This partnership supports producers’ ability to adapt to a changing animal production landscape.
January 3, 2018 - Recombinetics