The National Scrapie Plan (nsp) for Great Britain is a voluntary scheme that, through PrP genotype testing and restricted breeding, aims to reduce the risk of scrapie in the national sheep flock. To gauge the progress in member flocks and within breeds, the genotype profile of successive crops of ram lambs was monitored between 2002 and 2004. In each of the 11 most frequently sampled breeds, the proportion of ram lambs testing in the most resistant genotype category (nsp type 1: arr/arr) increased, and there was a reduction in the proportion of genotypes associated with the highest disease risk, that is X/vrq, where X is an allele other than arr. Changes in the proportion of ram lambs testing for ARR-heterozygous genotypes (nsp type 2: arr/X, where × is not vrq) appeared to be influenced by whether the sheep were hill breeds or non-hill breeds. In each of six frequently sampled hill breeds these genotypes expanded, in relative terms, whereas they declined in four of five prominent lowland/crossing breeds. The proportion of ram lambs that carried neither arr nor vrq (nsp type 3) declined consistently in the top 11 breeds, but there was little change in the arr/vrq genotype (nsp type 4). Among individual flocks that had ram lambs tested in all three years 2002 to 2004, the majority experienced an increase in the proportion testing arr/arr, and of those that had vrq ram lambs in 2002, most recorded a decrease in their frequency by 2004.
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