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Associations between the prion protein genotype and performance traits of meat breeds of sheep
  1. F. de Vries1,
  2. N. Hamann1,
  3. C. Drögemüller1,
  4. O. Distl1,
  5. N. Borchers2,
  6. S. Reinecke2 and
  7. W. Lüpping2
  1. 1 Institute for Animal Breeding and Genetics, School of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Bünteweg 17p, 30559, Hannover, Germany
  2. 2 Chamber of Agriculture Schleswig-Holstein, Section 4, Animal Husbandry and Breeding, Holstenstrasse 106-108, 24103 Kiel, Germany


The prion protein (PrP) genotypes of four German meat breeds of sheep were examined in relation to their scores for muscle mass, conformation, wool quality, daily liveweight gain and ultrasonic measurements of the depth of back muscle and back fat. The dataset included 912 genotyped German texel sheep among 10,383 recorded sheep, 474 genotyped Suffolk sheep among 4079 recorded sheep, 271 genotyped German white-headed mutton sheep among 3393 recorded sheep, and 99 genotyped German black-headed mutton sheep among 1642 recorded sheep. The model included the fixed effects of PrP genotype, herd, year and season, test day, sex, rearing method, the regression coefficient of average age, and the random additive genetic effect of the animal. In all four breeds there were no statistically significant associations between these performance traits and the occurrence of ARR alleles and the ARR/ARR genotype except for the depth of back muscle and the daily liveweight gain of German black-headed mutton sheep; however, in this breed, the interpretation could be affected by the small number of animals involved. All the genotyped sheep had significantly better performance traits than the non-genotyped sheep.

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