Science: Fighting the Biotech Wars

Gene splicers struggle to get their first live products down on the farm

In Farmer Kevin Main's farrowing barn near Altona, Ill., the newborn piglets lay on their sides, their tiny feet paddling frantically in the air. A day later they were dead. "It was not a pleasant thing," Main recalls. "We lost over a hundred." Main's 480-swine herd had been hit by pseudorabies, a disease caused by a herpes virus that attacks the central nervous system of pigs, sheep, cattle and other animals. Nearly always fatal in young pigs, it causes symptoms ranging from disoriented wandering to skin lesions to convulsions, and can lead to reproductive failure in animals that survive. About 10%...

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