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Congenital arthrogryposis: an inherited limb deformity in pedigree Suffolk lambs
  1. M. L. Doherty, BVM&S, MVM, PhD, MRCVS1,
  2. E. P. Kelly, MVB, PhD, DipAnGen, MRCVS1,
  3. A. M. Healy, MVB, MVM, CertCHP1,
  4. J. J. Callanan, MVB, PhD, DipECVP, MRCPath, CertVR, MRCVS1,
  5. C. Skelly, MVB, DVR, DipECDVI, MRCVS1,
  6. T. F. Crosby, MAgSc, PhD2 and
  7. M. P. Boland, MAgSc, PhD, DSc2
  1. 1 Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, Ireland
  2. 2 Faculty of Agriculture, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland


Thirty of 52 pedigree Suffolk lambs (58 per cent) were born with arthrogryposis characterised by bilateral flexion rigidity of the metacarpophalangeal and carpal joints. The recent introduction of a breeding ram was identified as the only significant risk factor in the flock, and embryo transfer was used to test the hypothesis that the arthrogryposis was an inherited disorder associated with the introduction of this ram. Two adult ewes that had previously produced lambs with arthrogryposis by the ram and four of its affected daughters were available as donors, and 20 crossbred ewes were used as recipients. Ten Suffolk-crossed ewes that had no known familial relationship with the ram were also mated by the ram as controls and they produced 10 normal lambs. Following embryo transfer, 19 lambs were born, of which seven were stillborn; arthrogryposis was evident in 10 of the 12 live lambs. Analysis of the data suggested that in the population under study, arthrogryposis was inherited as an autosomal recessive condition.

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