26 January 1996

PIC finds coloured gene

EXPLOITING the gains of coloured pig breeds without losing £7 to £10 a pig for coloured carcasses will be possible in 3-5 years, according to pig breeding firm PIC.

The breakthrough is made possible with its discovery of a third major genetic marker, this one to standardise coat colour in pigs.

Although coloured breeds, such as the Duroc and Meishan, improve eating quality and prolificacy, abattoirs deduct up to 25p/kg for coloured carcasses. "PIC has two white Duroc lines but it is not possible to guarantee they will have white progeny," says PICs John Griffiths. "With a DNA-tested parent female it will be possible to guarantee white stock even when the other parent is coloured."

The genetic marker for dominant white colour was discovered by Swedish researchers.

It can be identified by a quick 24-hour test developed for PIC by the Dalgety Food Technology Centre. &#42