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Estimation of genetic parameters for resistance to gastro-intestinal nematodes in pure blood Arabian horses.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
International Journal for Parasitology
0020-7519
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
45
Issue
4
Pages
237–242
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2014.11.003
PMID: 25592965
Source
Medline
Keywords
  • Genetic Resistance
  • Heritability
  • Horse
  • Nematode
  • Repeatability

Abstract

Equine internal parasites, mostly cyathostomins, affect both horse welfare and performance. The appearance of anthelmintic-resistant parasites creates a pressing need for optimising drenching schemes. This optimization may be achieved by identifying genetic markers associated with host susceptibility to infection and then to drench carriers of these markers. The aim of our study was to characterise the genetics of horse resistance to strongyle infection by estimating heritability of this trait in an Arabian pure blood population. A population of 789 Arabian pure blood horses from the Michałów stud farm, Poland were measured for strongyle egg excretion twice a year, over 8 years. Low repeatability values were found for faecal egg counts. Our analyses showed that less than 10% of the observed variation for strongyle faecal egg counts in this population had a genetic origin. However, additional analyses highlighted an age-dependent increase in heritability which was 0.04 (±0.02) in young horses (up to 3 years of age) but 0.21 (±0.04) in older ones. These results suggest that a significant part of the inter-individual variation has a genetic origin. This paves the way to a genomic dissection of horse-nematode interactions which might provide predictive markers of susceptibility, allowing individualised drenching schemes.

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