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Association between genotype and scrapie in goats in the UK

W. Goldmann, K. Ryan, P. Stewart, D. Parnham, R. Xicohtencati, N. Fernandez, G. Saunders, O. Windl, L. González, A. Bossers, J. Foster

ALTHOUGH the goat population in the UK is small compared with other European countries, there is a need for information on the susceptibility of goats to transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. This study investigated the genetics of scrapie susceptibility in goats.

Blood samples were collected from over 1100 goats on 22 holdings, representing all eight common breeds in the UK (a large proportion of animals were crossbreeds). DNA was extracted and subjected to PCR and sequencing to determine allele and genotype frequencies. Tissue samples from 150 scrapie-affected goats were collected over a period of approximately three years following passive (clinical cases) and active (fallen stock or research activity) surveillance. Scrapie was confirmed by the presence of PrPd (the disease-specific prion protein). To compare the results with those from goats of European descent but from a country officially free of scrapie, 166 Criollas goats from different areas of central Mexico were genotyped.

Eleven Prnp alleles (encoding the normal prion protein, PrPC) were found in over 30 genotypes. The study …

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