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The impact of sheep breed on the risk of classical scrapie

  • K. M. McINTYRE (a1), H. TREWBY (a2), S. GUBBINS (a1) and M. BAYLIS (a2)

Summary

The risk of classical scrapie in sheep is associated with polymorphisms in the prion protein (PrP) gene. In recent years, large-scale selective breeding programmes for sheep at lower risk of disease have been undertaken across the European Union. We analysed large-scale datasets on scrapie and sheep demography to investigate additional effects of sheep breed on scrapie risk. There was evidence for variation between certain breeds in the scrapie risk of some PrP genotypes, which could be caused by innate breed differences or distinct scrapie strains circulating within them. While the PrP genotypes of cases are generally consistent across breeds, some exceptions provide evidence that scrapie strain may influence affected PrP genotypes to a greater extent than innate breed differences. There was a significant association between the breed-level incidence of scrapie and the frequency of susceptible PrP genotypes in breeds. Our results lend support to selective breeding programmes which aim to reduce the frequency of high-risk PrP genotypes with measures not varying by sheep breed.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: Professor M. Baylis, Leahurst Campus, University of Liverpool, Chester High Road, Neston, Cheshire CH64 7TE, UK. (Email: matthew.baylis@liverpool.ac.uk)

References

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The impact of sheep breed on the risk of classical scrapie

  • K. M. McINTYRE (a1), H. TREWBY (a2), S. GUBBINS (a1) and M. BAYLIS (a2)

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