Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Scientists join in race to save rare pig breed

VALUED: The Lop originates in the West Country and produces high-quality meat.

A major scientific study into one of Britain’s rarest breeds of pigs could provide a template for saving other vulnerable livestock breeds.

The Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) says a genomic study of the Lop, a white pig with distinctive ears that touch the end of its nose, could pave the way for action to save the breed that has a breeding population of only 40-45 animals as well as other breeds on the verge of extinction.

RBST chief executive Christopher Price said: “This first ever identification of the genetic markers of the Lop breed not only provides the basis for best animal selection for breeding programmes and for storing genetic material, but it also enables us to form tailored programmes to increase genetic diversity within the breed.

Christopher Price is chief executive of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

“This is a really important study for the work to ensure our other rare native breeds survive too, it is the first of its kind for any pig breed native to the UK, and we hope it will set a template for how other rare breeds could access similar genetic data.”

The study, which revealed some genetic diversity within the breed but also a high level of genomic inbreeding, involved collecting hair samples from 190 individual pigs raised on 40 farms which were analysed by scientists at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

According to the RBST, the Lop, which originates in the West Country, produces high quality pork and bacon that is highly prized by butchers and chefs.

The chairman of the British Lop Pig Society, Giles Eustice, farms at Trevaskis Farm in Cornwall.

He said: “The new genomic data is a fantastic boost for the breed as it proves we still have the diversity required to bounce back even stronger, although it is fair to say things are on the edge!  We have a committed following of old and new breeders and I am confident with the new tools we have been given we can achieve the diversity goal required.

“I am interested in using the sequencing to explore some of the ‘Celtic’ white pigs in existence with much similarity to the British Lop; they could hold a diversity key that may be needed.’’

Professor Georgios Banos at SRUC said: “This work demonstrates the genetic uniqueness of the British Lop pig. We used modern technologies and data to derive information that may be used as a practical breed purity test and also inform breeding strategies aiming to safeguard the integrity of the breed.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]