PRRS-Resistant Pigs: The breakdown

Have you heard about them? Being in central Missouri with a lot of Mizzou friends, it’s been blowing up my Facebook. Disease resistant pigs? What does that mean? And the main question… Is it dangerous to eat?

Like I said, I’m a bookworm so I enjoy learning about new things. But all the articles I came upon from trusted sources were full of scientific jumbo. Being a business major, I’m not into any of that. So here is my ‘business major breakdown’ of what I learned.



First off, what is PRRS?

PRRS stands for Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome. It is a viral disease that affects that reproductive system of sows (female hogs that have already birthed piglets at least once), gilts (female hogs that haven’t had any piglets yet), and sometimes even boars, (male hogs that have the ability to reproduce). It also affects the respiratory systems of all hogs, but especially young pigs.

How does that affects the swine industry?

First detected in 1987, PRRS has cost the global swine industry about $6 million PER DAY! This disease has adapted to modern practices of production, meaning it was impossible to stop or slow down without this resistant strain.

What is PRRS-resistant pig?

It is exactly how it sounds, resistant to the PRRS virus. That means that doesn’t receive a special antibiotic or other drug, it means that these particular pigs have a difference gene code. This stops them for producing a specific protein that helps spread the virus.

How does it happen? 

The work of editing DNA naturally occurs in the pig anyways. They just speed up the process to save more pigs and solve a large problem.

Will all pigs be resistant now?

No, this experiment is in the early stages. They discussed that it will be five to ten years until a thing goes to market. They still have to go through all the regulations.

What does this mean for our food supply?

Great things! In the future, with less deaths and more healthy pigs, the cost of your pork will slide downward. More bacon for you and me! 

But most of all, is it dangerous? 

Of course, with the research being so new, there is no way for me or all the research I have done to answer this. But, they just sped up what natural selection and mutation would have accomplished in the future. So do I think it’s dangerous? NO! I can’t wait to have more bacon!

Want to do more research?

Here are the articles and sites, I looked at. I also consulted a few of my friends for clarification.

More questions? Ask us! Or research on your own!

~Nicole

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