A locus conferring tolerance to Theileria infection in African cattle

David Wragg, E.A.J. Cook, Perle Latré de Laté, Tatjana Sitt, Hanneke Hemmink, M. Chepkowny, Mercy, Karimi Njeru, E.J. Poole, Jessica Powell, Edith Paxton, Rebecca Callaby, Andrea Talenti, A.A. Miyunga, G. Ndambuki, Stephen Mwaura, Harriet Auty, Oswald Matika, Musa Hassan, Karen Marshall, Tim ConnelleyLiam Morrison, Mark Bronsvoort, Ivan Morrison, P.G. Toye, James Prendergast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

East Coast fever, a tick-borne cattle disease caused by the Theileria parva parasite, is among the biggest natural killers of cattle in East Africa, leading to over 1 million deaths annually. Here we report on the genetic analysis of a cohort of Boran cattle demonstrating heritable tolerance to infection by T. parva (h2 = 0.65, s.e. 0.57). Through a linkage analysis we identify a 6 Mb genomic region on Bos taurus chromosome 15 that is significantly associated with survival outcome following T. parva exposure. Testing this locus in an independent cohort of animals replicates this association with survival following T. parva infection. A stop gained variant in this region was found to be highly associated with survival across both related and unrelated animals, with only one of the 20 homozygote carriers (T/T) of this change succumbing to the disease in contrast to 44 out of 97 animals homozygote for the reference allele (C/C). Consequently, we present a genetic locus linked to tolerance of one of Africa’s most important cattle diseases, raising the promise of marker-assisted selection for cattle that are less susceptible to infection by T. parva.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1010099
JournalPLoS Genetics
Issue number4
Early online date21 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing/genetics
  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins/genetics
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases/genetics
  • Humans
  • Theileria parva/genetics
  • Theileria/genetics
  • Theileriasis/genetics


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