New company tests for pigs/litter

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A new company started by researchers at the University of Guelph is offering a genetic test to cull out boars who sire smaller litters.

Karyotekk said it can identify chromosomal abnormalities in boars that affect their fertility, resulting in fewer piglets per litter. The research was done by Dr. W. Allan King, professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Canada Research Chair in animal reproductive biology.

He found that some boars’ semen cells are not copying exactly  and when this happens, it passes down through generations, reducing litter size by about four piglets.

King said “we discovered that about one in 200 occurs from normal parents and if they’re not removed, they pass it to their offspring, and we also discovered if you start to eliminate the (affected) boars, the frequency goes down.”

Karyotekk will perform a genetic analysis on blood samples collected from potential herd sires so pork producers can cull the boars who would sire reduced-size litters.

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