Long feared, it’s now finally happened. African swine fever (ASF), an infectious and highly lethal viral disease of pigs, has for the first time reared its head in China. Just two weeks ago, African swine fever was confirmed as the cause of death of pigs on a small farm in Shenyang City, in Liaoning Province, located in the northeast, bordering North Korea and the Yellow Sea.
A new study offers novel insights into rapid genomic adaptations to extreme environments in sheep and other animals and provides a valuable resource for future research on livestock breeding in response to climate change.
At a time when the price of mutton is climbing and wool crashing, a groundbreaking new study has used advanced genetic sequencing technology to rewrite the history of sheep breeding and trading along the ancient Silk Road—insights that can help contemporary herders in developing countries preserve or recover valuable traits crucial to their food and economic security. The new findings regarding one of the first animals ever domesticated will be published in the October print edition of the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution. They are the product of an unprecedented collaboration involving scientists in China, Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia, Nepal, Finland, and the United Kingdom. The team analysed the complete mitochondrial DNA of 42 domesticated native sheep breeds from Azerbaijan, Moldova, Serbia, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Poland, Finland, China and the United Kingdom, along with two wild sheep species from Kazakhstan.