Friday, April 23, 2021

Scrapie researchers find culprit genes

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said two genes have been found to confer some resistance to scrapie in goats.

Researchers earlier found two in sheep and are recommending that selective breeding be used so offspring have the 171RR genotype. They will inherit at least one gene that confers resistance to scrapie.

For goats the CFIA reports that data from Canada, the United States and the European Union agree that goats having a single copy of either the S146 or K222 alleles have shown a strong degree of resistance to natural infection with scrapie.

Scrapie is a fatal disease that affects the central nervous system of sheep and goats. 

The technical name is transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) and is similar to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle, chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer and elk, and Creutzfelt-Jakob disease in humans.


Scrapie, BSE and CWD are reportable diseases under the federal Health of Animals Act. The challenge for farmers is that the disease cannot be confirmed until an autopsy is performed after the animals die, making it difficult to identify infected animals in a herd.