Confirmation of two quantitative trait loci regions for nematode resistance in commercial British terminal sire breeds.

The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, The University of Edinburgh, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9RG, UK.
animal (Impact Factor: 1.65). 06/2011; 5(8):1149-56. DOI: 10.1017/S175173111100022X
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Sheep internal parasites (nematodes) remain a major health challenge and are costly for pasture-based production systems. Most current breeding programmes for nematode resistance are based on indicator traits such as faecal egg counts (FEC), which are costly and laborious to collect. Hence, genetic markers for resistance would be advantageous. However, although some quantitative trait loci (QTL) have been identified, these QTL are often not consistent across breeds and few breeding strategies for nematode resistance in sheep are currently using molecular information. In this study, QTL for nematode resistance on ovine chromosomes (OAR) 3 and 14, previously identified in the Blackface breed, were explored using commercial Suffolk (n = 336) and Texel lambs (n = 879) sampled from terminal sire breeder flocks in the United Kingdom. FEC were used as the indicator trait for nematode resistance, and these were counted separately for Nematodirus and Strongyles genera. Microsatellite markers were used to map the QTL and the data were analysed using interval mapping regression techniques and variance component analysis. QTL for Nematodirus and Strongyles FEC were found to be segregating on OAR3 at 5% chromosome region-wide significance threshold in both Suffolk and Texel sheep, and Nematodirus FEC QTL were segregating on OAR14 in both breeds. In addition, QTL for growth traits were also found to be segregating at 5% chromosome region-wide on OAR3 and OAR14. The confirmation that FEC QTL segregate in the same position in three widely used breeds widens their potential applicability to purebred Blackface, Suffolk and Texel sheep, with benefits likely to be observed in their commercial crossbred progeny.

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