Monday, February 9, 2009

New tool to fight OPP

In the not too distant future, sheep producers may have a genetic tool to fight the costly, common sheep virus, Ovine Progress Pneumonia (OPP).

As in scrapie, producers one day may be able to cull sheep that are more susceptible to the OPP virus and breed animals that carry some genetic resistance. This is called "DNA Marker-Assisted Selection."

Research has found a flock with some animals that have partial resistance to OPP. They are in the process of validating the results. This should take approximately a year's time. As a practical matter, it is likely to be several years before the test is widely used as a breeding selection tool.