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Detection of polymorphisms in the prion protein gene in a population of Irish Suffolk sheep
  1. E. O'Doherty, BSc, MSc1,
  2. M. Aherne, BSc1,
  3. S. Ennis, DipAppBioScs, PhD1,
  4. J. F. Roche, MAgSc, PhD, DSc, MVM1,
  5. T. Sweeney, BSc, PhD1,
  6. E. Weavers, MVB, MRCVS2 and
  7. N. Hunter, BSc, PhD, DIC3
  1. 1 Department of Animal Husbandry and Production, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, Ireland
  2. 2 Central Veterinary Laboratory, Abbotstown, Castleknock, Dublin 15, Ireland
  3. 3 Institute for Animal Health, Neuropathogenesis Unit, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JF
  1. Department of Animal Husbandry and Production, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, Ireland

Abstract

Natural scrapie is associated with polymorphisms in the prion protein (PrP) gene. In Suffolks, codon 171 is the codon at which most variation is found; RR171 is thought to be associated with resistance to developing the clinical signs of the disease and QQ171 is associated with susceptibility to the disease. The objectives of this study were first to determine the PrP genotypes of Suffolk stock rams in Ireland, and secondly to compare the genotype profiles of ram lambs from flocks where a breeding programme based on the genotype AA136RR154RR171 had been initiated and from flocks where there was no breeding programme based on PrP genotype. Approximately 13 per cent of the stock rams genotyped in the Irish population were genetically susceptible to showing the clinical signs of the disease. However, lambs from farms that had initiated a selective breeding strategy for RR171 over the past year had a larger proportion of RR171 and a smaller proportion of QQ171 than the stock rams or ram lambs from farms not applying a breeding strategy.

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