Organisation - November 15, 2012

No taste

They will eat almost anything. Nuts, plants, insects and of course leftovers. Now we know why.

The pig has hardly any genes for taste, so it will eat food we find disgusting. Pigs do, on the other hand, have an awful lot of genes for odour recognition, which helps them find their food.
This has been learned from the unravelling of the pig's genome, a big project partly co-led by Animal Breeding professor Martien Groenen (out today in Nature and PNAS). Another revelation was that 10,000 years of domestication have lengthened the pig. Three genes give the farm pig two to four more vertebrae than the wild boar.