A new EBV has been launched for Lleyn sheep breeders to allow selection for resistance to roundworm.
A project supported by AHDB has produced an estimated breeding value (EBV) which will enable Lleyn sheep breeders to select animals for their resistance to roundworm.
The project, conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Glasgow, found the antibody response against the larval stage of a roundworm infection can be used as a biological marker for host response to infection.
Immunoglobulin A (IgA) is an antibody critical to immune function in mucous membranes. Measuring this in saliva provides a new phenotype through which differences between sheep can be identified.
High levels of IgA have been shown to regulate both worm growth and fecundity, which leads to decreased egg output.
Sam Boon, Signet breeding manager, says: “Since 2013, 7,899 Lleyn saliva samples have been collected and uploaded to the Signet database. When combined with the ongoing collection of FEC data, this has created a large commercial dataset on which to estimate heritability values for this new trait and study the genetic relationships between this and the FEC EBVs.”
Sam says: “The Lleyn breeders involved are very enthusiastic about the potential for this new technology and its application to the selection of genetically superior sheep.
“In the future, planned matings will take place between high EBV animals for these traits to see the impact it has on progeny performance.”
More information can be found at signetfbc.co.uk