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Study Outlines Potential Genetic Solution to Bovine Tuberculosis

14 February 2014

UK - Farmers may be able to select cattle for resistance to bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in the future, Roslin Institute Scientists have said.

Specialists at the Edinburgh laboratory have identified several genetic codes in cows unaffected by bTB and have associated them with TB resistance.

The findings, published in the journal Heredity, add weight to a previous study by the same institution that bTB resistance could be genetic.

The study, which was was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the European Union, gathered data from healthy and infected Holstein-Friesians .

Professor Glass, lead researcher, said genetics is not the only factor influencing the likelihood of a cow catching bTB.

"Various environmental factors as well as differences in the TB bacteria may also affect susceptibility,” said Professor Glass. "If we can choose animals with better genotypes for TB resistance, then we can apply this information in new breeding programmes alongside other control strategies.

The team hopes the breakthrough will assist in controlling bTB in cattle and is looking at refining genomic predictors of resistance in conjunction with the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute and Scotland’s Rural College.

Michael Priestley 

TheCattleSite News Desk

Top image via Shutterstock



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