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Floor Biemans

Page history last edited by floor.biemans@wur.nl 6 years, 4 months ago

Digital Dermatitis (DD) is an infectious disease caused by Treponema bacteria affecting the feet of cattle. Red round ulcers are seen above the interdigital space next to the heel bulbs. Lesions are painful and prone to bleed. DD is associated with lameness. DD cause economic losses by treatment costs, time spend treating the disease and a decreased production associated with disease. When treating infectious diseases high antibiotic usage causes bacteria to become resistant. So (other) methods for reducing or even preventing the spread of infectious diseases are needed. New opportunities for fighting infectious diseases arise with the increased availability of genomic information on farm animals.

Traits related to infection are susceptibility and infectivity. Genes for susceptibility are expressed by the individual itself whereas genes for infectivity are expressed by infected group mates. They can therefore be considered as an indirect genetic effect (IGE), a heritable effect of one individual on the phenotype of another individual. Currently animal breeders’ focus is on susceptibility only while IGE’s can have major effects on response to selection. When the infection status of all animals in a group is known, infectivity and susceptibility can be estimated for every individual.

Cows of several populations will be scored on DD status over time. The number of susceptible and infective animals will be obtained for every time point. These data will be combined with high density single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data to identify genomic regions correlated to low susceptibility and low infectivity. A generalized linear model will be used to estimate genetic differences in susceptibility and infectivity.

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