Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genetics Research Helps Scuttle Scrapie

Date:
January 3, 2007
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
More accurate genetic tests for diagnosing scrapie disease in sheep have been developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Clay Center, Neb. They believe this achievement will promote scrapie's eventual eradication.

Technician Jacky Carnahan and molecular geneticist Michael Heaton collect blood for DNA analysis.
Credit: Photo by Peggy Greb

More accurate genetic tests for diagnosing scrapie disease in sheep have been developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Clay Center, Neb. They believe this achievement will promote scrapie’s eventual eradication.

Related Articles


Contagious, incurable and fatal, scrapie is the sheep industry’s chief disease priority, costing U.S. producers an estimated $20 million every year. Scrapie's name reflects the disease’s most distinctive symptom: an uncontrollable itching sensation that causes afflicted sheep to compulsively scrape their bodies against nearby objects.

In a diseased animal, abnormally folded prions—proteins that occur in all mammals—cause the naturally produced prions to fold abnormally as well. As the misfolded proteins amass, they cause neurological problems and death. Most sheep die one to six months after symptoms appear, although they may be infected for years without showing any signs.

Genetic predisposition to the disease is related to variations in amino acid sequences coded within each sheep’s DNA. Selective breeding for resistance could one day reduce the genetic risk of developing scrapie and may eventually eradicate it.

Drawing from a diverse group of U.S. sheep, Michael P. Heaton, a geneticist at the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) in Clay Center, and his colleagues have resequenced the prion gene, identifying new genetic variation.

This achievement has improved commercially available genotyping tests and enhanced the national scrapie eradication program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Essentially, this research is improving the speed, cost and quality of anti-scrapie breeding methods.

The scientists have identified and stored DNA from 15 common sheep breeds. This information is freely available to researchers and testing labs to facilitate diagnosis and eventual scrapie eradication.

In short, the ARS researchers have amassed a detailed body of knowledge allowing them to test sheep for scrapie susceptibility with great accuracy. With that information, breeders can select less-susceptible sheep and breed more scrapie-resistant flocks.

ARS is the USDA's chief scientific research agency.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Genetics Research Helps Scuttle Scrapie." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 January 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070102140137.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2007, January 3). Genetics Research Helps Scuttle Scrapie. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070102140137.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Genetics Research Helps Scuttle Scrapie." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070102140137.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Around the World Take Flight

Birds Around the World Take Flight

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 22, 2014) An imperial eagle equipped with a camera spreads its wings over London. It's just one of the many birds making headlines in this week's "animal roundup". Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Baby Okapi Born at Houston Zoo

Raw: Baby Okapi Born at Houston Zoo

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) The Houston Zoo released video of a male baby okapi. Okapis, also known as the "forest giraffe", are native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. Video is mute from source. (Nov. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins