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Describing variability in pig genes involved in coronavirus infections for a One Health perspective in conservation of animal genetic resources

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Samuele Bovo (Université de Bologne, Italie) et al., Scientific Reports, 2021, 9 février, 14 pages

Coronaviruses silently circulate in human and animal populations, causing mild to severe diseases. Therefore, livestock are important components of a “One Health” perspective aimed to control these viral infections. However, at present there is no example that considers pig genetic resources in this context. In this study, we investigated the variability of four genes (ACE2ANPEP and DPP4 encoding for host receptors of the viral spike proteins and TMPRSS2 encoding for a host proteinase) in 23 European (19 autochthonous and three commercial breeds and one wild boar population) and two Asian Sus scrofa populations. A total of 2229 variants were identified in the four candidate genes: 26% of them were not previously described; 29 variants affected the protein sequence and might potentially interact with the infection mechanisms. The results coming from this work are a first step towards a “One Health” perspective that should consider conservation programs of pig genetic resources with twofold objectives: (i) genetic resources could be reservoirs of host gene variability useful to design selection programs to increase resistance to coronaviruses; (ii) the described variability in genes involved in coronavirus infections across many different pig populations might be part of a risk assessment including pig genetic resources.

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