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Breeding for resistance may control bTB in Africa – study
Breeding for resistance could help to control bTB in Africa.
DNA analysis finds resistance is not necessarily linked to a specific breed of cattle.

Breeding for resistance to tuberculosis (bTB) may help to control the disease in Africa, according to new research.

Writing in the journal Frontiers in Genetics, researchers describe their study in which they compared the DNA of 212 cattle in Cameroon, of which 153 had tested positive for Mycobacterium bovis, the bacteria that cause bTB. 

The study revealed that some of these animals’ genetic makeup conferred a higher level of resistance against bTB. Researchers also found that while there were clusters of animals that differed in their resistance to bTB, there were no apparent differences between breeds. 

Dr Rebecca Callaby from the Centre of Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH) and the Roslin Institute, said: “Our results suggest that resistance to bTB is not necessarily linked to a specific breed of cattle and that resistance to this disease is probably influenced by more than one gene. 

“We hope with further research we will better understand the factors underlying bTB resistance to help to breed healthier cattle and subsequently improve the lives of smallholders in Africa.”

Tuberculosis is estimated to infect an estimated 70,000 people ever year in Africa. In Cameroon, the prevalence is rising and, with no effective vaccine or treatment, breeding for resistance for bTB could help to control the disease.

Selective breeding has already been implemented in other countries, including the UK, where the dairy industry recently introduced a genetic evaluation index that enables farmers and breeders to select Holstein dairy bulls with greater bTB resistance.

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World Bee Day celebrations begin

News Story 1
 Today (20 May) marks the fifth annual World Bee Day, which raises awareness of the importance of bees and pollinators to people and the planet. Observed on the anniversary of pioneering Slovenian beekeeper Anton Jana's birthday, this year's celebration is themed: 'Bee Engaged: Celebrating the diversity of bees and beekeeping systems'.

Organisations and people celebrating the day will raise awareness of the accelerated decline in pollinator diversity, and highlight the importance of sustainable beekeeping systems and a wide variety of bees. Slovenia, the initiator of World Bee Day, will be focusing on teaching young people about the significance of pollinators. 

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Further avian flu cases confirmed

Three cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 have been confirmed in recent days, bringing the total number of cases in England to 98.

On Thursday, the APHA confirmed two cases of HPAI H5N1 near Redgrave, Mid Suffolk and Market Weston, West Suffolk. A case H5N1 was also confirmed in poultry at a premises near Southwell, Newark and Sherwood, Nottinghamshire.

Protection and surveillance zones are in place around the affected premises. Further details are available at gov.uk