Researchers have developed genetically modified (GM) pigs that are resistant
to the classical swine fever virus (CSFV), a widespread, highly contagious,
often fatal disease that causes significant economic losses. The study, led
by Hongsheng Ouyang and colleagues from Jilin University, is published in
the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens.
The researchers investigated the biology of CSFV extensively, as there is an
urgent need to develop effective approaches to eradicate CSFV. Ouyang and
colleagues generated CSFV-resistant pigs by combining the gene-editing tool
CRISPR-Cas9 with RNA interference (RNAi), a technique that silences gene
The researchers showed that the GM pigs could effectively limit the
replication of CSFV and reduce CSFV-associated clinical signs and mortality.
Disease resistance could also be stably transmitted to first-generation
offspring. Currently, the researchers are conducting long-term studies to
monitor the safety and effectiveness of this approach as these animals age.