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Short communication: Heritability estimates for susceptibility to Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis infection defined by ELISA and fecal culture test results in Jersey cattle



Short communication: Heritability estimates for susceptibility to Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis infection defined by ELISA and fecal culture test results in Jersey cattle



Journal of Dairy Science 97(7): 4562-4567



Paratuberculosis (Johne's disease), an enteric disorder in ruminants caused by Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis, causes economic losses in excess of $200 million annually to the US dairy industry. Costly diagnostic testing, cumbersome control programs, incurability, and ineffective vaccination all make M. avium ssp. paratuberculosis susceptibility a good candidate for genetic studies and genetic selection a potentially useful adjunct to management-based control programs. No report has been published for heritability of susceptibility to M. avium ssp. paratuberculosis infection in Jersey cattle. The objective of this study was to estimate variance components and heritability for susceptibility to M. avium ssp. paratuberculosis infection in US Jersey cattle. Data consisted of complete serum ELISA and partial fecal culture results on a total of 2,861 Jersey cows from 23 commercial herds throughout the United States after editing. Four M. avium ssp. paratuberculosis susceptibility phenotypes were defined using (1) ELISA sample-to-positive ratios as a continuous trait, (2) ELISA results as a binary trait (positive=1, negative=0), (3) ELISA results as an ordered categorical trait, and (4) a combined test in which ELISA and fecal culture results were both taken into account in a binary analysis. Three statistical models, including linear, binary threshold, and ordered threshold sire models, were used to analyze the data. All analyses were executed using the restricted maximum likelihood method in ASReml 3 software. The heritability estimates were low to moderate and ranged from 0.08 (±0.03) to 0.27 (±0.11) based on different trait definitions. The nonzero heritability indicates that susceptibility to M. avium ssp. paratuberculosis infection in Jersey cattle is influenced by genetic factors. Therefore, selection of the least susceptible animals could decrease genetic predisposition to M. avium ssp. paratuberculosis infection in Jersey populations in future generations.

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Accession: 055757414

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PMID: 24819128

DOI: 10.3168/jds.2013-7426


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