GM pigs take step to being organ donors
The most genetically modified animals in existence have been created to help end a shortage of organs for transplant, say US researchers. The scientists successfully rid 37 pigs of viruses hiding in their DNA, overcoming one of the big barriers to transplanting pig organs to people. The team at eGenesis admits preventing pig organs from being rejected by the human body remains a huge challenge. The study, published in the journal Science, started with skin cells from a pig. Tests identified 25 Pervs – porcine endogenous retroviruses – hidden in the pig’s genetic code. Experiments mixing human and pig cells together showed those viruses could escape to infect human tissues. The researchers then used the game-changing gene-editing technology Crispr to delete the 25 Pervs. It then took cloning technology, the same used to create Dolly the sheep, to place the genetic material from those cells into a pig’s egg and create embryos. “These are the first Perv-free pigs,” Dr Luhan Yang, one of the researchers from Harvard University and the spinout company eGenesis, told the BBC News website. More than 100,000 people need an organ transplant in the US. There are about 6,500 people on the UK waiting list. Pigs are particularly promising for xenotransplantation as their organs are a similar size to humans’, and the animals can be bred in large numbers. Removing the viruses is only half the challenge, even organs donated from other people can cause a strong immune reaction that leads to the transplant being rejected. The US team is investigating further genetic modifications to make pig organs more acceptable to the human immune system. “Prof Ian McConnell, from the University of Cambridge, said:”This work provides a promising first step in the development of genetic strategies for creating strains of pigs where the risk of transmission of retroviruses has been eliminated. “It remains to be seen whether these results can be translated into a fully safe strategy in organ transplantation.” Making 25 cuts throughout the pig’s genome led to DNA instability and the loss of genetic information.
Israel rounds up African migrants for deportation
TEL AVIV – Israel said on Monday it had started rounding up African migrants in the first stage of a controversial “Emergency plan” to intern and deport thousands deemed a threat to the Jewish character of the state. Israel Radio reported that dozens of Africans, mainly from South Sudan, had already been detained in the Red Sea resort of Eilat, including mothers and children. The goal is to repatriate all the estimated 60,000 African migrants, whose growing numbers are seen by many Israelis as a law and order issue and even a threat to the long-term viability of the Jewish state. Israel is grappling with its own special ghosts as it tackles the problem. For some in Israel, built by immigrants and refugees, internment and deportation are bad solutions that may damage the international image of the country needlessly. NOT CRIMINALS. About 500 Sudanese men held an orderly protest in Tel Aviv on Sunday against expulsion, the solution chosen by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after two months of heated debate over how to handle the flow of migrants. “We are refugees, not criminals,” the Sudanese chanted, in a retort to allegations that Africans prey on Israeli citizens, following high-profile rape allegations. Many Sudanese, including hundreds who escaped from conflict and humanitarian disaster in Darfur, have been in Israel for several years, living in legal limbo without formal refugee status, but peaceably, they say. The number of migrants crossing into Israel over the Sinai desert border has accelerated since 2006. Israel has now built a high fence along the frontier. “First of all, to stop their entry with the fence and at the same time to deport the infiltrators who are in Israel.” He warns of Africans “Flooding” and “Swamping” Israel, threatening “The character of the country”. Poor south Tel Aviv residents say affluent north Tel Aviv Jews can afford to be liberal, because the Africans are not in their back yard. We respect human rights,” he said, but added: “Israel cannot accept “Infiltrators from an entire continent”. The first planeload is expected to leave Israel next week.
Monitoring production, health and marketing of indigenous Tswana pigs in Ramotswa village of Botswana
The purpose of this study was to monitor the production, health and marketing of indigenous Tswana pigs in Ramotswa village of Botswana over a 12-month period. Farmers who rear indigenous Tswana pigs were identified by conducting a random survey throughout the village. There is very little reliable information on indigenous Tswana pigs as compared to other indigenous domestic animals such as beef cattle, sheep and goats in Botswana. Most of the indigenous Tswana pig population is found in the southeast district of Botswana at a village called Ramotswa. Similar to all indigenous animals in Botswana, Tswana pigs are an adapted genetic resource that can be used for food security, income generation and poverty alleviation by resource poor farmers. The objective of this study was to monitor the production, health and marketing of indigenous Tswana pigs in Ramotswa over a 12-month period. Herd composition: number of boars, sows, castrates, gilts and piglets Reproduction parameters of pigs: mating system used, mating season, birth frequency, litter size, age at weaning Pig shelter: type of shelter provided, frequency of cleaning and standard of hygiene maintained Pig marketing, buyers of pigs, products, records kept, prices, age at sale. Demographic characteristics of the farmers keeping indigenous Tswana pigs in Ramotswa village of Botswana. Reproduction management in indigenous Tswana pigs in Ramotswa village of Botswana. Shelter used to house indigenous pigs in Ramotswa village of Botswana. Marketing of indigenous Tswana pigs in Ramotswa village of Botswana. Ticks, lice and worm egg counts load in indigenous Tswana pigs on different farms in Ramotswa village of Botswana. Ticks, lice and worm egg counts load in Tswana pigs during different months in Ramotswa village of Botswana. The indigenous Tswana pig farmers in Ramotswa village of Botswana were mostly elderly females in predominantly male headed households who were above 40 years of age. Nsoso S J, Mosweu S, Malela L and Podisi B 2004a A survey on population, distribution, management and utilisation of indigenous Tswana pigs in Southern Botswana.