A candidate gene approach to study nematode resistance traits in naturally infected sheep

Hazel Wilkie, Valentina Riggio, Oswald Matika, Louise Nicol, K Watt, Rona Sinclair, Alexandra Sparks, Daniel Nussey, Josephine Pemberton, Ross Houston, John Hopkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sheep naturally acquire a degree of resistant immunity to parasitic worm infection through repeated exposure. However, the immune response and clinical outcome vary greatly between animals. Genetic polymorphisms in genes integral to differential T helper cell polarization may contribute to variation in host response and disease outcome. A total of twelve single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were sequenced in IL23R, RORC2 and TBX21 from genomic DNA of Scottish Blackface lambs. Of the twelve SNPs, six were non-synonymous (missense), four were within the 3’ UTRs and two were intronic. The association between nine of these SNPs and the traits of body weight, faecal egg count (FEC) and relative T. circumcincta L3-specific IgA antibody levels was assessed in a population of domestic Scottish Blackface ewe lambs and a population of free-living Soay ewe lambs both naturally infected with a mixture of nematodes. There were no significant associations identified between any of the SNPs and phenotypes recorded in either of the populations after adjustment for multiple testing (Bonferroni corrected P value ≤ 0.002). In the Blackface lambs, there was a nominally significant association (P = 0.007) between IL23R p.V324M and weight at 20 weeks. This association may be worthy of further investigation in a larger sample of sheep.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-74
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
Early online date10 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2017


  • Teladorsagia circumcincta
  • SNPs
  • IL23R
  • T cells
  • Parasite resistance
  • Sheep


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