Molecular reproduction and development

Genome-editing technologies to improve research, reproduction, and production in pigs.

PMID 28394093


The ability to directly manipulate the pig genome through genetic engineering has been available to the research community for over three decades. This technology has progressed from the random insertion of foreign DNA, via a variety of techniques (pronuclear microinjection, sperm mediated gene transfer, and integration of mobile genetic elements), to manipulation of endogenous genes, via homologous recombination in somatic cells followed by somatic cell nuclear transfer. Over the last few years, designer nucleases facilitated the development of techniques that provide efficient ways to introduce foreign DNA or to modify endogenous genes in eggs, zygotes, or somatic cells. Together, these genome-editing technologies have essentially removed the obstacles to gene manipulation in swine. Although the regulatory environment is still unclear for agricultural applications, genetic engineering of pigs will continue to advance biomedicine and biology. In addition, genetic engineering is now sufficiently simple and efficient that agricultural research can now ask basic and applied questions that are not hampered by limited funding.