- Funded by the National Pork Board
- Principle Investigator: Dr. Joan Lunney, USDA ARS BARC
- Co-Investigators: Dr. Bob Rowland, Kansas State University; Dr. James Reecy, Iowa State University
- Collaborators: Dr. Jack Dekkers, Iowa State University; Dr. Rohan Fernando, Iowa State University; Dr. Zhihua Jiang, Washington State University; Dr. Roman Pogranichniy, Purdue University; Dr. Max Rothschild, Iowa State University; Dr. Juan Pedro Steibel, Michigan State University; Christy Gladney, PIC/Genus; Nader Deeb, PIC/Genus; Archie Clutter, Newsham Choice Genetics; Benny Mote, Fast Genetics; Dan Hamilton, Genetiporc; Douglas Smith, University of Michigan; Chak-Sum (Sam) Ho, Gift of Life Michigan.
The PRRS Host Genetics Consortium (PHGC) is the first-of-its-kind approach to food animal infectious disease research. The NPB, PRRS CAP, ARS, private companies and universities have come together to conduct a multi-year project designed to understand how host genetics influence the outcome of PRRSV infection. Results have affirmed that there are genetic components involved in controlling pig responses to PRRSV infection and have identified new avenues for other areas of PRRS research, including new diagnostic techniques, new surveillance approaches and a better understanding of virus ecology.
The PHGC was formed as a result of input from PRRS researchers, NC1037/NRSP8 genome researchers, members of the NPB Swine Health and Animal Science Committees, veterinarians, American Association of Swine Veterinarians, producers, and commercial partners representing breeders, animal health, feed and diagnostic companies. The project is supported by funding from the National Pork Board, PRRS CAP, USDA AFRI and companies. The PHGC incorporates a nursery pig model to assess relationships between host genes and the resistance/susceptibility of pigs to a primary PRRSV infection. Each trial includes 200 pigs, which are brought into the facility at weaning (14-21 days age), infected a week later with a well characterized PRRSV isolate and followed for up to 42 days after infection. Blood and other samples, such as oral fluids and weight measurements are collected regularly for phenotypic data. Total RNA in blood is preserved for the purpose of characterizing host and virus gene expression in nucleated blood cells. Phenotypic measurements include virus load, weight gain, antibody responses and cytokine levels in serum. All samples are catalogued and distributed to appropriate testing labs and stored for use in later studies. The data are collected into a PHGC relational database, housed at Iowa State University.
Producers and other stakeholders will be able to apply these data to 1) determine the relationships between PRRS viral levels, weight gain, and underlying pig genetics; 2) develop better management techniques for the control of virus infection and disease; 3) improve surveillance for PRRSV and other infectious diseases; and 4) identify genes and phenotypic markers that are linked to specific infection outcomes. The characterization of PRRS-associated genes or genomic markers will be used in breeding programs to identify pigs that are more resistant to infection, tolerant to infection, produce a desired cytokine response, and/or respond well to vaccination.
- Genetic and blood tests that can be used to predict how pigs respond to PRRSV infection
- Determination of alleles in genomic regions, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), or candidate genes [and source pig genetics] which are correlated with PRRS resistance/susceptibility or PRRSV persistence
- Identification of quantitative trait loci (QTL) to develop selection procedures to lower the effects of PRRS and prevent persistence of PRRSV virus in pigs
- Uncover unique PRRSV resistance mechanisms and virus-host interactions
- Provide a resource of samples and data for studies of PRRS genetics, diagnostics and pathogenesis
Visit the PHGC News-Press
area to view publications and documents related to this project.