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Controlling parasitic worms with genetic selection

Date:
December 19, 2013
Source:
Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press)
Summary:
Helminths are gastrointestinal parasitic worms that have become a major concern and source of economic loss for sheep producers around the world. A new article reviews current research into a promising alternative to control the disease.

Helminths are gastrointestinal parasitic worms that have become a major concern and source of economic loss for sheep producers around the world. A new article published today in the Canadian Journal of Animal Science reviews current research into a promising alternative to control the disease.

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According to the paper, the sheep industry has become dependent on drugs to control these parasites. Over time these drugs are less effective as helminths become resistant to the drugs. Therefore, there is pressure on the industry to find alternate strategies. One such strategy is genetic selection. Certain breeds of sheep are more immune to helminths than the conventional breeds used in Canada, and a breeding program that aims to pass on this resistance trait could help to control the disease and ultimately limit production losses attributed to helminth infection.

A key advantage to applying genetic selection rather than chemicals to get rid of the worms is that it is permanent and it could help reduce the potential risk of chemical residues in products made for human consumption. This is key for the public as well as the sheep industry.

"With today's developments in genomic selection, breeding sheep for helminth resistance can be achieved efficiently, without adversely affecting other economically important traits," explained Niel Karrow, lead author of the paper, a researcher at the Centre for Genetic Improvement of Livestock at the University of Guelph.

"We believe that breeding for helminth resistance, when combined with good biosecurity and pasture management practises, will greatly help to control against production losses due to gastrointestinal parasites."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Niel A. Karrow, Katherine Goliboski, Nancy Stonos, Flavio Schenkel, Andrew Peregrine. Review: Genetics of helminth resistance in sheep. Canadian Journal of Animal Science, 2013; 1 DOI: 10.4141/CJAS2013-036

Cite This Page:

Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press). "Controlling parasitic worms with genetic selection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131219131225.htm>.
Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press). (2013, December 19). Controlling parasitic worms with genetic selection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131219131225.htm
Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press). "Controlling parasitic worms with genetic selection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131219131225.htm (accessed December 17, 2014).

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