Commercial pigs in their pen (Photo from the Livestock Research Division, DOST-PCAARRD)

In other swine-producing countries, the application of gene markers that are associated with economically important traits, has resulted to significant improvement in the number of pigs produced and consequently, the hog liveweight produced per sow per year.

In the Philippines, the application of gene marker was developed by the Philippine Carabao Center and the Bureau of Animal Industry in partnership with the Accredited Swine Breeders Association of the Philippines for the program “Private-public partnership in the application of animal genomics to increase productivity and improve efficiency of the Philippine swine industry.”

Ten gene marker protocols associated with high litter size, fast growth rate, and meat qualities as well as seven markers for screening of genetic defects and disease resistance were optimized.

A gene marker is used to identify different qualities or features in the DNA sequence. Meanwhile, gene marker protocols are official scientific records of scientific experimental observations.

The adoption of the gene marker technology by the swine breeder farms is expected to increase productivity and efficiency in terms of number of pigs weaned and total weight of pigs produced per sow per year.

The research and development (R&D) initiatives for swine aim to increase pigs produced per sow per year by 4.6 piglets, which is equivalent to an additional 460 kilograms of hog liveweight or a 25―30% increase in pork production without increasing the breeder pig population.

It also hopes to capacitate the private swine group in establishing and operating its laboratory to cater to the needs of the local swine industry.

Funded by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD), the program has two component projects: 1) Development and application of microsatellite markers in selecting positive traits of swine and 2) Development and application of microsatellite markers in selecting disease resistance genes and screening of genetic defects of swine.

DOST will showcase swine genomics including other agri-aqua S&T research and development outputs on March 2-4, 2016 during the SIPAG FIESTA at its headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna. SIPAG FIESTA will feature exhibits, techno forum, techno demo, and other activities showcasing locally developed technologies for the agri-aqua sectors.

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