- Animals: sheep
- Animal Production: parasite control
Breeding parasite-resistant sheep that are less dependent on the use of anthelmintics to maintain sustainable management and productivity is one of the main goals of Florida Native sheep producers. It would also assist farmers to manage the growing anthelmintic-resistance problem in U.S. Very limited research work has been devoted to selection for resistance to gastrointestinal nematode infections using genetic markers in Florida native sheep populations. Thus, it is proposed that the identification of DNA markers that are indicative of parasite resistance (or susceptibility) could improve selection programs. In order to determine the resistance or susceptibility status of sheep, the objective of this project is to develop genetic markers for parasite resistance in Florida native sheep populations.
1. Identify and validate DNA markers in 100 selected genes (including promoter regions, coding regions and non-coding regions) associated with resistance using targeted sequencing in 153 Florida native sheep, previously characterized with different levels of resistance to natural gastrointestinal nematode infections (extreme individuals: highest fecal egg counts and lowest fecal egg counts).
2. Evaluate the changes in the mRNA structure of the genes with DNA markers associated with parasite resistance.
3. Disseminate to producers the potential benefits of this tool in the selection of breeding animals, using the genetic markers showing benefit in resistance level to gastrointestinal nematodes.