Effect of genetic stress susceptibility on pork meat quality
Project 18-004 - Lead Researcher - Dr. Ray Lu, University of Guelph
It is well documented that stress impacts swine health and negatively affects production, including feed efficiency, growth and meat quality. As a molecular geneticist who has studied stress for over 20 years both in cattle and lab mice, the lab of Dr. Ray Lu has identified two novel genes, named Luman and LRF, that regulate animal stress responses. Using lab mice as animal models, the researchers have recently discovered that deletion of either the Luman or LRF genes resulted in animals that are less susceptible to stress, more robust and leaner. Stress response pathways are similar between species from lower vertebrates (such as fish), to mammals and humans. Because of this, in the field of molecular genetics, it is widely accepted that findings in model organisms like mice are applicable to other mammals, including pigs, cattle and humans in which advanced molecular genetic tools are not readily available. Dr. Lu and his team propose to utilize the knowledge gained in lab mice to identify genetic variations in the stress genes that impact on pork meat quality. The project will use available DNA samples of pigs that have been analyzed for meat quality traits, to determine if the Luman and LRF stress genes are linked to meat quality in pigs. If successful, these new meat quality markers could improve the current genetic selection and breeding, and help pork producers reduce production cost and antibiotics use, as well as increase the well-being of the animals.
Reseracher Profile: Dr. Ray Lu, University of Guelph