Chinese scientists have completed a somatic cell cloning experiment, successfully facilitating the births of five pigs native to China, which will help reduce the threat of African swine fever on pig breeding.
The pigs, with black hair and white feet, were cloned by a scientific team in Taicang City in the eastern province of Jiangsu. They are currently in good health.
If an outbreak of African swine fever were to occur at a breeding farm, it would pose a risk to genetic porcine resources, so the biological breeding technologies are necessary to strengthen the protection of such resources, said team researcher Gong Yuqing.
African swine fever is believed to infect only pigs, and no human or other species has thus far been infected.
China reported its first case of the disease in August 2018 in the northeastern province of Liaoning. Later outbreaks were reported in other provinces.
Gong said that the team has collected ear tissue samples from six types of pigs native to China and cryopreserved 1,217 tubes of somatic cells since last year.
"Using somatic cells to clone pigs can realize the preservation of 100 percent of genetic materials," said team member Wu Shenglong, adding that such cloning technologies can replicate particularly good native breeding pigs in large numbers.