Latest Projects

Swine Improvement – Maintaining healthy and more profitable pig production

Maintaining healthy and more profitable pig production
With the mapping of the pig genome, scientists now have an opportunity to apply genomic-based tools to the pork industry. Genome Prairie is the co-lead for the Application of Genomics to Improve Swine Health and Welfare project.

Similar tools have already revolutionized the dairy industry, providing annual benefits of over $180 million to Canada. With funding from Genome Canada and others, researchers applied genomics to help reduce the impact of two of the most common diseases in commercial pig production – Porcine Circovirus Associated Disease (PCVAD) and Porcine Respiratory and Reproductive Syndrome (PRRS). PCVAD and PRRS together, cost the Canadian pig industry $100 million in losses every year.

Through this project scientists studied mechanisms in pigs that make them genetically less susceptible to these diseases, providing important new diagnostic tools for breeders and expanding our understanding of disease control mechanisms. This work can be used to develop new strategies for disease control in addition to the development of new drugs, improved vaccines, and a safer food chain by reducing the use of antibiotics.

Researchers also studied public perceptions about the use of genomic technologies to prevent disease in pork production.

Research ResultsResearch Results
PHGC Trial #13 has been completed at Kansas State.
Currently have collected a 2175 serum samples and 1547 tissue samples (mostly blood) for DNA from swine in the gilt acclimation research project.
Notable OutcomesNotable Outcomes
Identification of a disease resistance locus on the Sus scrofa Chromosome 4 (SSC4)
Successfully recruited commercial herds for participation in the research project. Genotyping for the first 8 challenge trials has been completed.

Quick Facts

  • Project Leader(s):
    • Graham Plastow
      (University of Alberta)
    • John Harding
      (University of Saskatchewan)
    • Bob Kemp
      (PigGen Canada Inc.)
  • Project Manager:

    Jagjit Ludu University of Alberta

  • Project Value:

    $12.4 Million

  • Genome Canada Contribution:

    $4.9 Million

  • Other Funding Partners:

    $7 Million

  • Project Status:

    Ongoing (2010 - 2015)

  • Competition:

    Genome Canada 2010 Large-Scale Applied Research Project Competition

  • Website:

Current Projects

2022 - Present

Bison Integrated Genomics (BIG)

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CanCOGeN – Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network

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CPMN – Canadian Prairie Metabolic Network

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2020 - 2022

COV3R – COVID-19 Rapid Regional Response

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CTAG2 – Canadian Triticum Applied Genomics

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2019 to 2023

4DWheat – Diversity, Discovery, Design and Delivery

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EcoToxChip – A toxicogenomics tool for chemical prioritization and environmental management

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2019 - 2023

EVOLVES – Enhancing the Value of Lentil Variation for Ecosystem Survival

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2019 - 2022

FLOWTER – Floating Wetland Treatments to Enhance Remediation

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2019 - 2023

Genomic ASSETS (Antimicrobial Stewardship Systems from Evidence-based Treatment Strategies) for Livestock

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GENICE: Microbial Genomics for Oil Spill Preparedness in Canada’s Arctic Marine Environment

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2018 - 2021

Improving on-seed survival and performance of legume inoculants using genome shuffling

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