New PRRS research gets funding boost at Roslin Institute

A £2.7 million boost to research at Roslin Institute in Edinburgh has been welcomed as a step which will improve the health of livestock around the world, including work to understand viruses that cause major losses in the pig and poultry industry.

The funding is part of a new release of support by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) under its Animal Health Research Club, which is a consortium between BBSRC, the Scottish Government and leading companies from the animal breeding, animal health and farming sectors.

“The award reflects the strengths of Roslin in the area of animal health, and our commitment to working with industry to reduce the burden of endemic diseases,” said Roslin’s director, Professor David Hume.

One of the Roslin projects which will receive funding is an investigation of the “genetics of host responses to Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) virus” for which £844,979 has been awarded.

Headed by Professor Alan Archibald, Professor Stephen Bishop, Dr Tahar Ait-Ali and Professor Tanja Opriessnig, this study will identify genetic markers that are associated with differences in susceptibility to PRRS.

“The goal is to develop tools that will help select pigs that are more resistant to the disease for use in breeding, reducing the impact of the virus in breeding herds,” said a Roslin spokesperson.

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