An group of scientists has decoded the DNA of the domestic pig, research that may one day prove useful in finding new treatments for both pigs and people, and perhaps aid in efforts for a new swine flu vaccine for pigs.
Pigs and humans are similar in size and makeup, and swine are often used in human research. Scientists say they rely on pigs to study everything from obesity and heart disease to skin disorders.
"The pig is the ideal animal to look at lifestyle and health issues in the United States," said Larry Schook, a University of Illinois in Champaign biomedical science professor who led the project.
Researchers announced the results Monday at a meeting in Hinxton, U.K. They'll spend the meeting discussing ways to use the new information. One of those ways could be the development of a swine flu vaccine for pigs to protect them from the new H1N1 virus.
Dr. Richard Gibbs, a Baylor College of Medicine researcher who wasn't involved in the project, said a lot of work remains before a vaccine for the animals could be available. "Immune machinery are the most difficult to decipher. But this is a big step in that direction."
Schook and his team decoded the genome of a red-haired Duroc pig, one of five major breeds used in pork production worldwide.
Researchers have unraveled the DNA of about two dozen mammals.
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Beefeaters busted for bullying
At the Tower of London - long known for its treachery, bloodshed, and executions - it could be time to add bullying to the litany of foul deeds committed. Tower officials said Monday that two male warders have been suspended and a third is under investigation for suspected harassment of Moira Cameron, who joined the prestigious warders two years ago as the first female yeoman warder. The Sun newspaper reported Monday that Cameron's uniform had been defaced and that "nasty" notes had been left in her locker. Tower spokeswoman Ruth Howlett said she could not confirm the details cited in the newspaper report or elaborate on the reported harassment.
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Private college leaders make mint
A record 23 private college and university presidents received more than $1 million in total compensation in fiscal 2008, according to an analysis of the most recently available data published Monday by the Chronicle of Higher Education. A record one in four in the study of 419 colleges' mandatory IRS filings made at least $500,000. Overall, median compensation for the group rose 6.5 percent to $359,000, and 15.5 percent at major private research universities, to $628,000. The figures essentially cover the 2007-08 academic year.
Here are the top 10 highest-paid private college presidents:
1. Shirley Ann Jackson, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: $1,598,247
2. David Sargent, Suffolk University: $1,496,593
3. Steadman Upham, University of Tulsa: $1,485,275
4. Richard Meyers, Webster University: $1,429,738
5. Cornelius M. Kerwin, American University: $1,419,339
6. Lee C. Bollinger, Columbia: $1,380,035
7. Donald V. DeRosa, University of the Pacific: $1,350,743
8. John E. Sexton, New York University: $1,297,475
9. Robert Bottoms, DePauw University: $1,296,455
10. Jerry C. Lee, National University: $1,189,777
Source: IRS tax reports analyzed by the Chronicle of Higher Education.
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Canada defends its seal product trade
Canadian Trade Minister Stockwell Day said Monday that Ottawa has formally requested World Trade Organization consultations on Europe's ban of Canadian seal products, the first stage of the world body's dispute-settlement process. Day says the regulation, adopted by 27 European countries earlier this year, is a violation of the EU's trade obligations. The ban is to come into force next August. Animal rights groups have protested the annual hunt, saying it is cruel, poorly monitored and provides little economic benefit. Seal hunters and Canadian authorities say it is sustainable, humane and provides income for villagers in isolated northern indigenous Inuit communities.