Geneticists at JSR, the leading pig genetics company in the UK, are joining with research scientists at Ontario’s University of Guelph and representatives from major abattoirs to the address the problem of boar taint.
The overall aim is to eliminate boar taint across different breeds by using very advanced gene marker technology. The genes responsible for the two compounds that cause boar taint – androstenone and skatole – will be identified in an effort to accelerate the ‘low taint’ selection process.
The focus hitherto by the scientists at Guelph was on two ways of reducing levels of boar taint compounds. Firstly, by decreasing their synthesis and increasing their metabolism.
Identifying candidate genes
By now identifying the candidate genes controlling skatole and androstenone levels and by using markers responsible for the different functionalities of the genes, an attempt will be made to identify pigs with undetectable boar taint.
The team has identified a complete set of 140 DNA markers from over 30 genes. Testing is underway in both the research cohort and animals from commercial lines to establish those that are most effective.
Director of Research and Genetics at JSR, Dr Grant Walling, commented that “with the expertise and support of our partners at Guelph, we hope to develop a line of pigs in which boar taint is not detectable to human taste”.
â€¢ JSR Genetics