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Major histocompatibility complex DRB1 gene: its role in nematode resistance in Suffolk and Texel sheep breeds


Major histocompatibility complex DRB1 gene: its role in nematode resistance in Suffolk and Texel sheep breeds



Parasitology 131(Pt 3): 403-409



ISSN/ISBN: 0031-1820

PMID: 16178362

DOI: 10.1017/s0031182005007778

A potential control strategy for nematode infection in sheep is the implementation of a breeding programme to select for genes associated with resistance. The Texel breed is more resistant to gastrointestinal nematode infection than the Suffolk breed, based on faecal egg count, and this difference should enable the identification of some of the genes responsible for resistance. The objective of this study was to determine if variation at the ovine MHC-DRB1 locus was associated with variation in faecal egg count in Suffolk and Texel sheep. Ovar-DRB1 alleles and faecal egg count were determined for Texel (n = 105) and Suffolk (n = 71) lambs. Eight Ovar-DRB1 alleles, including 1 previously unknown allele, were identified in the Texel breed by sequence-base-typing. Seven Ovar-DRB1 alleles were identified in the Suffolk breed. Two Ovar-DRB1 alleles were common to both breeds, but were among the least frequent in the Suffolk population. In the Suffolk breed 1 Ovar-DRB1 allele was associated with a decrease in faecal egg count and 2 alleles with an increase in faecal egg count. This locus accounted for 14% of the natural variation in faecal egg count in Suffolks. There was no evidence for an association between Ovar-DRB1 alleles and faecal egg count in the Texel breed and the Ovar-DRB1 locus accounted for only 3% of the phenotypic variation in faecal egg count. These results suggest that the Ovar-DRB1 gene plays an important role in resistance to nematode infection in the Suffolk breed. The difference in faecal egg counts between these breeds may be attributable in part to the different allele profile at the Ovar-DRB1 locus.

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Accession: 004226384

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