Associations between genotypes at codon 171 and 136 of the prion protein gene and production traits in market lambs

Jessica M. Evoniuk Department of Animal and Range Sciences, College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105

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Paul T. Berg Department of Animal and Range Sciences, College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105

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Mary L. Johnson Department of Animal and Range Sciences, College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105

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Daniel M. Larson Department of Animal and Range Sciences, College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105

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Travis D. Maddock Department of Animal and Range Sciences, College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105

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Charles L. Stoltenow Department of Animal and Range Sciences, College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105

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Chris S. Schauer Department of Animal and Range Sciences, College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105

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Katherine I. O’Rourke Animal Disease Research Unit, Animal Research Service, US Department of Agriculture, 3003 ADBF, Pullman, WA 99164

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Dale A. Redmer Department of Animal and Range Sciences, College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58105

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Abstract

Objective—To determine whether selection for the homozygous A136R171 genotype that confers resistance to classic scrapie infection negatively affects production traits in sheep.

Animals—996 commercial lambs obtained from 2 flocks at separate locations across 3 consecutive years.

Procedures—Genotyping at codon 136 and 171 was performed by use of commercially available testing or a single-nucleotide polymorphism assay. Carcass data were collected without knowledge of genotype approximately 24 hours after slaughter by an experienced grader. The model to analyze associations between prion protein (PRNP) genotype and production traits was based on genotype, breed, or both as fixed effects and days on feed as a covariate.

Results—Average daily gain was significantly associated with only combined codons 136 and 171. In flock 1, weaning average daily gain was significantly greater in AA136 sheep than heterozygotes; the difference between QR171 and RR171 sheep, compared with QQ171 sheep, were not significant although QR171 and RR171 sheep had higher values. However, in flock 2, average daily gain was significantly greater in AV136 sheep than AA136 sheep and in QR171 sheep than QQ171 sheep.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Findings suggest there is an advantage for average daily gain in lambs with an arginine allele at codon 171, but there were no other genotype effects on production traits. Thus, selection for the resistant arginine allele at codon 171 to comply with USDA scrapie eradication guidelines should not be detrimental to lamb production in commercial flocks. Effects of codon 136 on average daily gain were ambiguous.

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether selection for the homozygous A136R171 genotype that confers resistance to classic scrapie infection negatively affects production traits in sheep.

Animals—996 commercial lambs obtained from 2 flocks at separate locations across 3 consecutive years.

Procedures—Genotyping at codon 136 and 171 was performed by use of commercially available testing or a single-nucleotide polymorphism assay. Carcass data were collected without knowledge of genotype approximately 24 hours after slaughter by an experienced grader. The model to analyze associations between prion protein (PRNP) genotype and production traits was based on genotype, breed, or both as fixed effects and days on feed as a covariate.

Results—Average daily gain was significantly associated with only combined codons 136 and 171. In flock 1, weaning average daily gain was significantly greater in AA136 sheep than heterozygotes; the difference between QR171 and RR171 sheep, compared with QQ171 sheep, were not significant although QR171 and RR171 sheep had higher values. However, in flock 2, average daily gain was significantly greater in AV136 sheep than AA136 sheep and in QR171 sheep than QQ171 sheep.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Findings suggest there is an advantage for average daily gain in lambs with an arginine allele at codon 171, but there were no other genotype effects on production traits. Thus, selection for the resistant arginine allele at codon 171 to comply with USDA scrapie eradication guidelines should not be detrimental to lamb production in commercial flocks. Effects of codon 136 on average daily gain were ambiguous.

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