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Concept: Pork


Objective To determine the association of different types of meat intake and meat associated compounds with overall and cause specific mortality.Design Population based cohort study.Setting Baseline dietary data of the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study (prospective cohort of the general population from six states and two metropolitan areas in the US) and 16 year follow-up data until 31 December 2011.Participants 536 969 AARP members aged 50-71 at baseline.Exposures Intake of total meat, processed and unprocessed red meat (beef, lamb, and pork) and white meat (poultry and fish), heme iron, and nitrate/nitrite from processed meat based on dietary questionnaire. Adjusted Cox proportional hazards regression models were used with the lowest fifth of calorie adjusted intakes as reference categories.Main outcome measure Mortality from any cause during follow-up.Results An increased risk of all cause mortality (hazard ratio for highest versus lowest fifth 1.26, 95% confidence interval 1.23 to 1.29) and death due to nine different causes associated with red meat intake was observed. Both processed and unprocessed red meat intakes were associated with all cause and cause specific mortality. Heme iron and processed meat nitrate/nitrite were independently associated with increased risk of all cause and cause specific mortality. Mediation models estimated that the increased mortality associated with processed red meat was influenced by nitrate intake (37.0-72.0%) and to a lesser degree by heme iron (20.9-24.1%). When the total meat intake was constant, the highest fifth of white meat intake was associated with a 25% reduction in risk of all cause mortality compared with the lowest intake level. Almost all causes of death showed an inverse association with white meat intake.Conclusions The results show increased risks of all cause mortality and death due to nine different causes associated with both processed and unprocessed red meat, accounted for, in part, by heme iron and nitrate/nitrite from processed meat. They also show reduced risks associated with substituting white meat, particularly unprocessed white meat.

Concepts: Death, Iron, Demography, Meat, Pork, Red meat, White meat, Poultry


Domestication of wild boar (Sus scrofa) and subsequent selection have resulted in dramatic phenotypic changes in domestic pigs for a number of traits, including behavior, body composition, reproduction, and coat color. Here we have used whole-genome resequencing to reveal some of the loci that underlie phenotypic evolution in European domestic pigs. Selective sweep analyses revealed strong signatures of selection at three loci harboring quantitative trait loci that explain a considerable part of one of the most characteristic morphological changes in the domestic pig-the elongation of the back and an increased number of vertebrae. The three loci were associated with the NR6A1, PLAG1, and LCORL genes. The latter two have repeatedly been associated with loci controlling stature in other domestic animals and in humans. Most European domestic pigs are homozygous for the same haplotype at these three loci. We found an excess of derived nonsynonymous substitutions in domestic pigs, most likely reflecting both positive selection and relaxed purifying selection after domestication. Our analysis of structural variation revealed four duplications at the KIT locus that were exclusively present in white or white-spotted pigs, carrying the Dominant white, Patch, or Belt alleles. This discovery illustrates how structural changes have contributed to rapid phenotypic evolution in domestic animals and how alleles in domestic animals may evolve by the accumulation of multiple causative mutations as a response to strong directional selection.

Concepts: Genetics, Natural selection, Pig, Wild boar, Domestic pig, Suidae, Selection, Pork


China is one of the most diverse countries, which have developed 88 indigenous pig breeds. Several studies showed that pigs were independently domesticated in multiple regions of the world. The purpose of this study was to investigate the origin and evolution of Chinese pigs using complete mitochondrial genomic sequences (mtDNA) from Asian and European domestic pigs and wild boars. Thirty primer pairs were designed to determine the mtDNA sequences of Xiang pig, Large White, Lantang, Jinhua and Pietrain. The phylogenetic status of Chinese native pigs was investigated by comparing the mtDNA sequences of complete coding regions and D-loop regions respectively amongst Asian breeds, European breeds and wild boars. The analyzed results by two cluster methods contributed to the same conclusion that all pigs were classified into two major groups, European clade and Asian clade. It revealed that Chinese pigs were only recently diverged from each other and distinctly different from European pigs. Berkshire was clustered with Asian pigs and Chinese pigs were involved in the development of Berkshire breeding. The Malaysian wild boar had distant genetic relationship with European and Asian pigs. Jinhua and Lanyu pigs had more nucleotide diversity with Chinese pigs although they all belonged to the Asian major clade. Chinese domestic pigs were clustered with wild boars in Yangtze River region and South China.

Concepts: DNA, China, Pig, Wild boar, Domestic pig, Suidae, Pork, Razorback


Background: Suboptimal diet is one of the most important factors in preventing early death and disability worldwide.Objective: The aim of this meta-analysis was to synthesize the knowledge about the relation between intake of 12 major food groups, including whole grains, refined grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, eggs, dairy, fish, red meat, processed meat, and sugar-sweetened beverages, with risk of all-cause mortality.Design: We conducted a systematic search in PubMed, Embase, and Google Scholar for prospective studies investigating the association between these 12 food groups and risk of all-cause mortality. Summary RRs and 95% CIs were estimated with the use of a random effects model for high-intake compared with low-intake categories, as well as for linear and nonlinear relations. Moreover, the risk reduction potential of foods was calculated by multiplying the RR by optimal intake values (serving category with the strongest association) for risk-reducing foods or risk-increasing foods, respectively.Results: With increasing intake (for each daily serving) of whole grains (RR: 0.92; 95% CI: 0.89, 0.95), vegetables (RR: 0.96; 95% CI: 0.95, 0.98), fruits (RR: 0.94; 95% CI: 0.92, 0.97), nuts (RR: 0.76; 95% CI: 0.69, 0.84), and fish (RR: 0.93; 95% CI: 0.88, 0.98), the risk of all-cause mortality decreased; higher intake of red meat (RR: 1.10; 95% CI: 1.04, 1.18) and processed meat (RR: 1.23; 95% CI: 1.12, 1.36) was associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality in a linear dose-response meta-analysis. A clear indication of nonlinearity was seen for the relations between vegetables, fruits, nuts, and dairy and all-cause mortality. Optimal consumption of risk-decreasing foods results in a 56% reduction of all-cause mortality, whereas consumption of risk-increasing foods is associated with a 2-fold increased risk of all-cause mortality.Conclusion: Selecting specific optimal intakes of the investigated food groups can lead to a considerable change in the risk of premature death.

Concepts: Nutrition, Death, Meat, Fruit, Random effects model, Pork, Whole grain, Refined grains


This paper is based on a workshop held in Oslo, Norway in November 2013, in which experts discussed how to reach consensus on the healthiness of red and processed meat. Recent nutritional recommendations include reducing intake of red and processed meat to reduce cancer risk, in particular colorectal cancer (CRC). Epidemiological and mechanistic data on associations between red and processed meat intake and CRC are inconsistent and underlying mechanisms are unclear. There is a need for further studies on differences between white and red meat, between processed and whole red meat and between different types of processed meats, as potential health risks may not be the same for all products. Better biomarkers of meat intake and of cancer occurrence and updated food composition databases are required for future studies. Modifying meat composition via animal feeding and breeding, improving meat processing by alternative methods such as adding phytochemicals and improving our diets in general are strategies that need to be followed up.

Concepts: Cancer, Nutrition, Meat, Saturated fat, Livestock, Pork, Red meat, White meat


Repeated nucleotide sequences combined with proteins called telomeres cover chromosome ends and dictate cells lifespan. Many factors can modify telomere length, among them are: nutrition and smoking habits, physical activities and socioeconomic status measured by education level. The aim of the study was to determine the influence of above mentioned factors on peripheral blood mononuclear cells telomere length.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Nutrition, DNA replication, Telomere, PBMC, Pork


For 10,000 years pigs and humans have shared a close and complex relationship. From domestication to modern breeding practices, humans have shaped the genomes of domestic pigs. Here we present the assembly and analysis of the genome sequence of a female domestic Duroc pig (Sus scrofa) and a comparison with the genomes of wild and domestic pigs from Europe and Asia. Wild pigs emerged in South East Asia and subsequently spread across Eurasia. Our results reveal a deep phylogenetic split between European and Asian wild boars ∼1 million years ago, and a selective sweep analysis indicates selection on genes involved in RNA processing and regulation. Genes associated with immune response and olfaction exhibit fast evolution. Pigs have the largest repertoire of functional olfactory receptor genes, reflecting the importance of smell in this scavenging animal. The pig genome sequence provides an important resource for further improvements of this important livestock species, and our identification of many putative disease-causing variants extends the potential of the pig as a biomedical model.

Concepts: Gene, Organism, RNA, Pig, Wild boar, Domestic pig, Suidae, Pork


Growing evidence suggests that effects of red meat consumption on coronary heart disease (CHD) and type 2 diabetes could vary depending on processing. We reviewed the evidence for effects of unprocessed (fresh/frozen) red and processed (using sodium/other preservatives) meat consumption on CHD and diabetes. In meta-analyses of prospective cohorts, higher risk of CHD is seen with processed meat consumption (RR per 50 g: 1.42, 95 %CI = 1.07-1.89), but a smaller increase or no risk is seen with unprocessed meat consumption. Differences in sodium content (~400 % higher in processed meat) appear to account for about two-thirds of this risk difference. In similar analyses, both unprocessed red and processed meat consumption are associated with incident diabetes, with higher risk per g of processed (RR per 50 g: 1.51, 95 %CI = 1.25-1.83) versus unprocessed (RR per 100 g: 1.19, 95 % CI = 1.04-1.37) meats. Contents of heme iron and dietary cholesterol may partly account for these associations. The overall findings suggest that neither unprocessed red nor processed meat consumption is beneficial for cardiometabolic health, and that clinical and public health guidance should especially prioritize reducing processed meat consumption.

Concepts: Nutrition, Coronary artery disease, Heart, Meat, Saturated fat, Pork, Red meat, White meat


Climate change is known to affect ecosystems globally, but our knowledge of its impact on large and widespread mammals, and possibly population-specific responses is still sparse. We investigated large-scale and long-term effects of climate change on local population dynamics using the wild boar (Sus scrofa L.) as a model species. Our results show that population increases across Europe are strongly associated with increasingly mild winters, yet with region-specific threshold temperatures for the onset of exponential growth. Additionally, we found that abundant availability of critical food resources, e.g. beech nuts, can outweigh the negative effects of cold winters on population growth of wild boar. Availability of beech nuts is highly variable and highest in years of beech mast which increased in frequency since 1980, according to our data. We conclude that climate change drives population growth of wild boar directly by relaxing the negative effect of cold winters on survival and reproduction, and indirectly by increasing food availability. However, region-specific responses need to be considered in order to fully understand a species' demographic response to climate change.

Concepts: Demography, Great Britain, Pig, Wild boar, Domestic pig, Suidae, Pork, Beech


During 1975-2012, CDC surveillance identified 1,680 trichinellosis cases in the United States with implicated food items; among these cases, 1,219 were attributed to consumption of raw or pork products, and 461 were attributed to nonpork products. Although trichinellosis in the United States has historically been associated with consumption of pork, multiple nonporcine species of wild game also are competent hosts for Trichinella spp. and have been collectively implicated in the majority of trichinellosis cases since the late 1990s (1-4) (Figure 1). During July 2016-May 2017, the Alaska Division of Public Health (ADPH) investigated two outbreaks of trichinellosis in the Norton Sound region associated with consumption of raw or undercooked walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) meat; five cases were identified in each of the two outbreaks. These were the first multiple-case outbreaks of walrus-associated trichinellosis in Alaska since 1992 (Figure 2). Health care providers should inquire about consumption of commercially prepared and personally harvested meats when evaluating suspected trichinellosis cases, especially in areas where consumption of wild game is commonplace.

Concepts: Health care, United States, Meat, Livestock, Pork, Walrus, Trichinosis, Chukchi Sea