UW–Madison breeds and maintains several lines of swine, including a number of conventional breeds and a human-sized breed, Wisconsin Miniature Swine™ (WMS™), developed at UW by Dr. Shanmuganayagam and colleagues.
Advantages of WMS™ over conventional models:
- SIZE: Animals range from 25–50 kg (55–110 lb.) at 4 months of age and 68–91 kg (150–200 lb.) at full maturity, approximating the size of an average human. In contrast, conventional breeds reach 100 kg (220 lb.) by 4 months of age and 249–306 kg (550–675 lb.) at full maturity and thus pose practical challenges in the biomedical research setting.
- AGE: Animals can be maintained at adult human sizes for several years.
- DEVICES: WMS™ easily accommodates the use of human clinical medical devices and imaging modalities such as PET/CT and MRI in research.
- PHYSIOLOGY: The physiology of the breed more closely resembles humans when compared to conventional breeds. For example, the WMS™ can model human obesity and the associated glucoregulatory / metabolic dysfunction when fed Western human diets.