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Content archived on 2024-04-19

Genetic resistance to internal parasites in sheep and goats and its exploitation for increasing animal productivity in Southeast Asia


Internal parasites, especially the helminths, are one of the most important constraints to sheep and goat production and are the cause of up to 40% mortality and 38% retardation in growth of small ruminants in Southeast Asia. The control methods are limited by the high costs of anthelmintics, their uncertain availability, danger of drug resistance and limited scope for controlled grazing in communal pastoral systems. Breeding of indigenous breeds for parasite resistance coupled with animal use of anthelmintics based on epidemiological studies is an interesting long term sustainable solution to this problem.
The indigenous breeds of sheep and goats managed on pastures, where they are exposed to natural infections, would be characterized for traits of productivity and parasitic burden. The parasite population within the host and on the pasture would be monitored. The impact of parasitic load on aniaml productivity in relation to host and environmental variables would be estimated. -
The nucleus of flocks of sheep and goats will be constituted based on the faecal egg counts. Planned and controlled breeding will be done to segregate the animals into resistant(R), susceptible(s) and random control groups. The animals in these three lines will be characterised for production and parasitic traits.
Animals of different breeds and selection lines will be subjected to experimental infection with known helminths under controlled conditions. Also the general humoral and cellular inmune competence of these animals will be evaluated using immunogens and mitogens.
Various parasitological, haematological, immunological, biochemical and molecular biology techniques will be used. The analysis of data would provide information on between and within breed differences in resistance to helminths, correlations between helminth infection and productivity
and epidemiology of helminth infection opening the wav for breeding for resistance and control of helminth parasites.


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Instituut voor Tropische Geneeskunde Prins Leopold
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