Farmscape for November 19, 2020
In an effort to gain a better understanding of the pathogenicity of Actinobacillus suis in pigs, scientists are sequencing the genomes the bacteria.
Actinobacillus suis is commonly found in the upper respiratory tract of pigs but, in some cases, it will result in symptoms ranging from coughing and difficulty breathing to fever, lameness and even sudden death.
To gain a better understanding of the bacteria scientists have been sequencing A. suis isolates obtained from clinical cases in western Canada and are building a database.
Dr. Matheus Costa, an Assistant Professor with the University of Saskatchewan's Western College of Veterinary Medicine and an adjunct professor with Utrecht University, says the creation of a database on the whole genome of A. suis will assist in the response to new outbreaks.
Clip-Dr. Matheus Costa-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
A. suis from healthy and diseased pigs are very similar.
There isn't a lot of differences when it comes to the things they do when alive.
When we have them in the lab alive on a plate, we don't see a lot of difference between A. suis from healthy and diseased pigs but, once we have the genome sequenced, we can really start breaking them apart and show that there are specific genes that seem to be associated with those that cause disease versus those that do not cause disease.
This is just a preliminary assessment.
As we gather more data, we'll be able to investigate a little bit further what are the critical factors that make A. suis cause disease in pigs because at this point, they are unknown.
Over the years we believe we'll build on this database and we'll be able to bring it back into the research lab and investigate those critical factors that lead to disease.
Dr. Costa says diagnosticians will be able to refer to this database and hopefully develop more efficient treatment plans to deal with outbreaks and researchers will be able to use the information to identify the critical genes associated with disease.
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