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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2007 Jun;1772(6):619-28. Epub 2007 May 5.

Scrapie: uncertainties, biology and molecular approaches.

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  • 1Neuropathogenesis Unit, Roslin Institute, West Mains Road, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.


The study of the biology of scrapie in sheep is irretrievably associated with the genetics of the PrP gene in sheep. Control of susceptibility and resistance is so closely linked to certain alleles of the sheep PrP gene that no review on scrapie can avoid PrP genetics. Before the importance of PrP protein was discovered and before the influence of the gene itself on disease incidence was understood, it was clear there were some sheep which were more susceptible to natural scrapie than others and that this feature was heritable. These early observations have led to the development and use of PrP genotyping in sheep in what is probably the biggest genetic selection process ever attempted. The accompanying increase in surveillance has also discovered a novel type of scrapie, the subject of much speculation about its origin.

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