A $10 million U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant is enabling members of the Swine Genome Sequencing Consortium to develop a draft sequence of the swine genome.

The grant is from USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service.

Leading the research for USDA is Gary Rohrer, an animal geneticist at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, NE, along with ARS molecular biologist Dan Nonneman at Clay Center.

The scientists suggest the sequencing project holds many potential benefits: improved pork production efficiency, industry growth and reduced risk of swine disease.

Prior to the grant, the consortium had already identified more than 267,000 markers, providing a good start on the complete genome mapping process.

Other consortium members include the University of Illinois, the Alliance for Animal Genomics in Bethesda, MD, the Wellstone Trust Sanger Institute in England, Scotland’s Roslin Institute, the Korean Livestock Institute, the Beijing Genome Institute and France’s National Institute for Agricultural Research.