Genetically modified pigs resist infection with Classical swine fever virus

Researchers have developed genetically modified pigs that are protected from Classical swine fever virus (CSFV), according to a study published in PLOS Pathogens by Hongsheng Ouyang of Jilin University, and colleagues.

Ouyang and colleagues generated CSFV-resistant pigs by combining the gene-editing tool CRISPR/Cas9 with RNA interference (RNAi), a technique that silences gene expression.

The researchers demonstrated that these pigs could effectively limit the replication of CSFV and reduce CSFV-associated clinical signs and mortality. Disease resistance could be stably transmitted to first-generation offspring.

Currently, the researchers are conducting long-term studies to monitor the safety and effectiveness of this approach as these animals age.

According to the researchers, generating anti-CSFV pigs using a genome editing-based strategy could be a direct and effective approach to facilitate the permanent introduction of novel disease resistance traits into the mass population of production pigs via conventional breeding techniques. They say that this antiviral strategy is technically applicable to other domestic species and will provide insights for future antiviral research.

Article: Genetically modified pigs are protected from Classical swine fever virus by Zicong Xie, Daxin Pang, Hongming Yuan, Huping Jiao, Chao Lu, Kankan Wang, Qiangbing Yang, Mengjing Li, Xue Chen, Tingting Yu, Xinrong Chen, Zhen Dai, Yani Peng, Xiaochun Tang, Zhanjun Li, Tiedong Wang, Huancheng Guo, Li Li, Changchun Tu, Liangxue Lai and Hongsheng Ouyang published in PLoS Pathogens (2018) 14(12): e1007193, doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007193