Turning to Artiodactyla, the order of even-toed, hoofed mammals, our first example studied is the pig. Most pigs today are the domesticated descendants of the ancestral pig (Sus scrofa). A few feral animals of the same suborder still exist: the European wild boar, the warthog, and the closely related hippopotamus. For some years, pigs have been used as models for experimental surgery and other research studies because they are the right size, cheap, and adaptable to laboratory housing. Unfortunately, they often outgrow the experiments. Standard pigs continue to grow as long as food is available and may weigh as much as 160–180 kg by the time they reach full adulthood. For this reason, smaller pigs have been sought. Selective crossbreeding of small pigs from both the Hanford and Yucatan strains has resulted in animals that are reproducibly stunted. The Charles River Breeding Laboratories has developed two strains—Mini-pigs (30–50 kg) and Micropigs (20–40 kg)—from the original Yucatan swine. These two strains are not completely inbred, but each strain has a limited gene pool because they are interbred from a limited number of stock animals.
KeywordsAlpha Granule European Wild Boar Charles River Breeding Laboratory Porcine Plasma Euglobulin Lysis Time
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