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Detection of prion protein gene polymorphisms in Baltic breeds of sheep
  1. E. Sild1,
  2. R. Volskiene2,
  3. I. Viinalass, DrMetVet1,
  4. I. Miceikiene, DrScAgr2,
  5. Z. Grislis, DrScAgr3,
  6. O. Distl, DrMedVet4 and
  7. C. Drögemüller, DrMedVet4
  1. 1 Institute of Animal Science, Estonian Agricultural University, Kreutzwaldi 1, 51014 Tartu, Estonia
  2. 2 Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Lithuanian Veterinary Academy, Tilzes 18, 3022 Kaunas, Lithuania
  3. 3 Department of Animal Science, Latvian University of Agriculture, Liela iela 2, 3001 Jelgava, Latvia
  4. 4 Institute for Animal Breeding and Genetics, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Bünteweg 17p, 30559 Hannover, Germany


A total of 167 sheep belonging to the Estonian whiteheaded mutton, Estonian blackheaded mutton, Lithuanian coarsewool native, Lithuanian blackface and Latvian darkheaded mutton breeds, and a population of sheep kept isolated on the Estonian island of Ruhnu, were sequence-analysed for polymorphisms in the prion protein (PrP) gene, to determine their genotype and the allele frequencies of polymorphisms in PrP known to confer resistance to scrapie. A 939 base pair fragment of exon 3 from the PrP gene was amplified by pcr and analysed by direct sequencing. For animals showing polymorphism at two nucleotide positions, both haplotypes of these double-heterozygous genotypes were further verified by pcr cloning and sequence analysis. Known polymorphisms were observed at codons 136, 154 and 171, and six different haplotypes (arr, ahq, arh, ahr, arq and vrq) were determined. On the basis of these polymorphisms, the six populations of sheep possessed the resistant arr haplotype at different frequencies. The high-risk arq haplotype occurred in high frequencies in all six populations, but vrq, the haplotype carrying the highest risk, occurred at low frequencies and in only three of the populations.

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