Monday, June 17, 2013

Gene Discovery Leads to New OPP Test

A new test is available to help sheep producers identify animals at high risk for ovine progressive pneumonia (OPP), thanks to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists.

An incurable, wasting disease, OPP affects millions of sheep worldwide. Infected sheep are less productive and have fewer lambs. In addition to pneumonia, animals show signs of lameness and "hard bag" syndrome, which causes udders to become hard and produce little milk.

CAE (in goats) and OPP in sheep are very similar.
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists at the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) in Clay Center, NE, found that the gene TMEM154 affects susceptibility to OPP virus infection in sheep. Working with researchers at other ARS laboratories and a commercial company, they developed a commercially available genetic test.

Producers can use the test to detect sheep that are genetically less susceptible to OPP virus, decrease the risk of animals becoming infected, and select breeding stock with low-risk genetic factors, thereby reducing the prevalence of the virus in flocks.

Read more about this research in the May/June 2013 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

Source: USDA ARS News & Events, June 17, 2013.

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