DescriptionDrug resistant helminths have become a major cause of poor health and production in sheep and goats, and there is a need for diagnostic markers and tools to determine the frequency of resistance alleles in field parasite populations. Gastrointestinal nematode resistance to benzimidazole drugs is caused by a mutation in one of three positions on the isotype 1 β-tubulin locus, and in the absence of markers for resistance to other broad-spectrum anthelmintic classes, these provide a relevant study example. Determination of the prevalence of these single nucleotide polymorphisms in field gastrointestinal nematode populations can be impractical using conventional molecular methods, which may be error prone or lack sensitivity at low levels of resistance. Here, we report the development of a novel method based on an Illumina Mi-seq deep amplicon sequencing platform; to sequence the isotype 1 β-tubulin locus of the small ruminant gastrointestinal nematode, Teladorsagia circumcincta, and determine the frequency of the benzimidazole resistance mutations. We validated the method by assessing sequence representation bias in the isotype 1 β-tubulin locus, comparing the results of Illumina Mi-seq and pyrosequencing, and applying the method to populations containing known proportions of resistant and susceptible L3. Finally, we applied the method to field samples collected from ewes and lambs on over a period of one year on three farms, each highlighting different aspects of sheep management and approaches to parasite control. The results show opportunities to build hypotheses with reference to selection pressures leading to differences in resistance allele frequencies between sampling dates, farms and ewes or lambs, and to consider the impact of their genetic fixation or otherwise. This study provides proof of concept of a practical, accurate, sensitive and scalable method to determine frequency of anthelmintic drug resistance mutations in gastrointestinal nematodes in field studies and as a management tool for livestock farmers.
|Event title||WAAVP USA|