Natural solution to worm problem
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CTA. 1996. Natural solution to worm problem. Spore 66. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47488
A natural way to control intestinal worms has been found in Scottish sheep. The discovery opens the way to transfering this natural trait into other breeds at a time when resistance to drugs is making worming of sheep increasingly costly and...
A natural way to control intestinal worms has been found in Scottish sheep. The discovery opens the way to transfering this natural trait into other breeds at a time when resistance to drugs is making worming of sheep increasingly costly and ineffective. Veterinarians at the University of Glasgow in Scotland have found that the Scottish Blackface sheep has a gene that enables its lambs to control the fecundity and size of intestinal worms. The gene enables the animal's immune system to recognize certain proteins m the worms and to counter them by producing an immune response. The result is that the worms become less active and lay fewer eggs, which results in a smaller population to be passed on to other sheep not carrying the gene. In trials, Scottish Blackface lambs were shown to have 50 times more resistance to worms than lambs without this trait. The effect has only been tested against one species of Ostertagia, which is the main gut parasite that affects sheep in temperate areas, but researchers are hopeful that the gene will work against other species, both temperate and tropical. The work is also enabling scientists to look for similar genes in other breeds. Work in Kenya has shown that the Red Masai breed is more resistant to worms and more productive than other breeds. If proved, this could enable East African farmers to bring their worm problem under control. Veterinarians do not see this trait ever becoming the sole method of worm control but it will be used as part of an integrated approach to use less anthelmintics. The latest findings should make it possible to breed sheep with improved worm resistance. The scientists concerned are seeking funding for a commercial breeding trial to last five or more years. The Veterinary School University of Glasgow Glasgow G 12 8QQ, UK