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.

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 July 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 July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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