If Alzheimer’s progresses in pigs as it does in humans, the animals will give us more than just a better understanding of the disease. Transgenic pigs may also one day become test subjects for Alzheimer’s drugs, helping scientists develop better treatments for humans.
Thanks to their longevity, pigs will ideally provide new possibilities for understanding and treating diseases in which an organ’s function slowly degrades. Currently, pig genetic sequencing is conducted on an experiment-by-experiment basis—a costly, lengthy process. In 2001, scientists began sequencing the complete pig genome which the international Swine Genome Sequencing Consortium expects to publish by early 2010. With both this and the human genome in hand, transgenic pig models are expected to accelerate. According to Jørgensen, drug and treatment testing of human diseases on transgenic pigs and other large-animal models may eventually be the world standard.single page