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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pullman, Washington » Animal Disease Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #350276

Research Project: Genetic Impact and Improved Diagnostics for Sheep and Goat Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies

Location: Animal Disease Research

Title: Breeding scrapie resistant goats: A new DNA test to enhance goat health and your business

Author
item WHITE, STEPHEN
item Schneider, David

Submitted to: Dairy Goat Journal
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/21/2018
Publication Date: 7/1/2018
Citation: White, S.N., Schneider, D.A. 2018. Breeding scrapie resistant goats: A new DNA test to enhance goat health and your business. Dairy Goat Journal. 96(4):16-19.

Interpretive Summary: Classical scrapie is a deadly infectious disease of goats and sheep present in the U.S. that destroys a goat’s (or sheep’s) brain. The National Scrapie Eradication Program is successfully helping all goat and sheep producers by fighting scrapie within the country and advancing towards scrapie-free import/export status for the U.S. In the past, even one scrapie diagnosis lead to permanent quarantine or euthanasia of every goat on a farm. However, USDA-APHIS is planning to use pilot testing of genetic-based cleanup plans for goats similarly to actions for sheep in the early stages of utilizing their genetic scrapie resistance. A large panel of experts organized by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently concluded that two naturally occurring goat alleles in the prion gene (S146 and K222) are each alleles that confer resistance to classical scrapie. Specifically, the expert panel concluded that goat S146 and K222 have stronger evidence for scrapie resistance than sheep R171 had when it was originally recommended to help the sheep industry by use in breeding scrapie resistant sheep. Pilot data suggest your goats or those of someone you know may well already have S146 or K222 scrapie resistance alleles. New DNA tests are commercially available to determine if your goats have these alleles.

Technical Abstract: Classical scrapie is a deadly infectious disease of goats and sheep present in the U.S. that destroys a goat’s (or sheep’s) brain. The most common scrapie signs in goats are lack of coordination and abnormal gaits, but the first sign is often behavioral changes. The National Scrapie Eradication Program is successfully helping all goat and sheep producers by fighting scrapie within the country and advancing towards scrapie-free import/export status for the U.S. In the past, even one scrapie diagnosis lead to permanent quarantine or euthanasia of every goat on a farm. However, USDA-APHIS is planning to use pilot testing of genetic-based cleanup plans for goats similarly to actions for sheep in the early stages of utilizing their genetic scrapie resistance. A large panel of experts organized by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently concluded that two naturally occurring goat alleles in the prion gene (S146 and K222) are each alleles that confer resistance to classical scrapie. The EFSA experts concluded that goat S146 and K222 have better evidence for scrapie resistance than sheep R171 had when it was originally recommended for producing resistant sheep. Pilot data suggest your goats or those of someone you know may well already have S146 or K222. New DNA tests are commercially available to determine if your goats have these alleles.