The gene Sip with two alleles, sA and pA, is the major gene determining the incubation period of scrapie in its natural host, sheep. Two lines of Cheviot sheep have been bred which differ in their response to experimental infection with SSBP/1 scrapie. The negative line have a decreased incidence of disease caused by SSBP/1 and are SippApA. The positive line have an increased incidence of disease and the majority are either SipsAsA or SipsApA; it is not possible to distinguish between the two genotypes on the basis of scrapie incubation time because the sA allele is fully dominant with SSBP/1 scrapie. There are also rare SippApA segregants in the positive line. The major protein (PrP) of scrapie-associated fibrils is encoded by a cellular gene and a cDNA copy of the hamster PrP mRNA has been used to analyse the restriction fragment length polymorphism of the two lines of Cheviot sheep. Two polymorphisms of the sheep PrP gene were found, by using HindIII and EcoRI, which appear to act as markers for the alleles of Sip. Using these polymorphisms it is now possible to assign a Sip genotype to the sheep in the Cheviot flock. Preliminary results from Anglo-Nubian goats and a cow are also reported.
- British Veterinary Association. All rights reserved.
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