Genetic Sequencing Offers Potential to More Effectively Address New Strains of PRRRS

Farmscape for August 31, 2020

Full Interview 8:57 Listen

Genetic sequencing offers the potential to help pork producers respond more effectively to new strains of PRRS. The Morrison Swine Health Monitoring Project is conducting a Swine Health Information Center sponsored genetic sequencing project aimed at giving pork producers an edge in responding to emerging strains of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome. Swine Health Information Center Executive Director Dr. Paul Sundberg explains sequencing involves the identification of the sequence of amino acids that are part of the virus itself.

Clip-Dr. Paul Sundberg-Swine Health Information Center:
They take the virus and they pull the virus apart looking for the sequence of amino acids that are in certain parts of the virus.
That’s why it’s called sequencing, because the amino acids line up in a certain sequence for a certain virus all the time and that’s part of its genetic makeup. If we can take a look at the genetic makeup of the virus, we have that virus and use the term fingerprint that will give us that fingerprint of the virus so we know which one we’re dealing with. What we’re interested in is being able to make sure we detect new strains very early to so we can do a better job of isolating it, a better job of managing it, a better job of handling any new type of infection before it gets generally widespread.

The other thing is to analyze the sequences so we can look for patterns, either regionally or on farms, that can help us with information about sourcing of these viruses, how they move around the country, how they got onto a farm and, if we start looking at that type of analysis, we may be able to do a better job of controlling  that movement and thus help to better isolate and control and manage PRRS.

Dr. Sundberg suggests the power in disease management is in the sharing of information and the Morrison Swine Health Monitoring Project is a great way for producers to do that.

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