University of California Davis & Washington State University Benefitting Boars

Instead of surgically castrating young boars, researchers at the University of California, Davis and Washington State University are developing a practical and humane way to remove “boar taint” (an unpleasant odor in the meat of uncastrated male pigs).

With USDA funding, scientists are using genome-editing (CRISPR/Cas9) technology that allows genetic material to be added, removed, or altered at precise locations in the pig genome. They are testing how to “edit out” the enzyme that leads to the development of boar taint.

The approach has an added advantage because uncastrated male pigs grow more quickly and use feed more efficiently compared with castrated male pigs. With more productive growth and tastier meat, farmers can avoid the cost of boar castration while improving animals’ well-being.   

Retaking The Field Volume 5 “Retaking the Field Volume 5: Innovation to Profit” explores how federally funded agricultural research strengthens farmers and ranchers’ bottomline by reducing costs and risks, increasing profits, and laying the groundwork for new products and industries. With powerful examples from universities across the country, it describes how research can generate outsized economic benefits that extends for decades. View The Issue
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