Analyses of Pig Genomes Provide Insight into Porcine Demography and Evolution
M.A. Groenen et al., Nature 491, 2012, 393–398.
About the cover: The domestic pig (Sus scrofa) is an important livestock species, its genome shaped by thousands of years of domestication and, latterly, sophisticated breeding practices. A high-quality draft genome sequence for a female domestic Duroc pig was published in this issue of Nature, under the auspices of the Swine Genome Sequencing Consortium. Comparisons of the genomes of wild and domestic pigs shed light on the evolutionary relationship between European and Asian wild boars, and reveal the rapid evolution of genes involved in the immune response and in olfaction. The authors identify many possible disease-causing gene variants, increasing the potential of the pig as a biomedical model, and present a detailed analysis of endogenous porcine retroviruses, knowledge of which is important for the possible use of pigs in xenotransplantation. Cover: Mike Kemp, Rubberball,Getty Images/ Pompeii: René Mattes, Hemis, Corbis.