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PLoS One. 2010 Jun 15;5(6):e11117. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011117.

Genetic loci involved in antibody response to Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis in cattle.

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  • 1Parco Tecnologico Padano, Polo Universitario, Lodi, Italy.



Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) causes chronic enteritis in a wide range of animal species. In cattle, MAP causes a chronic disease called Johne's disease, or paratuberculosis, that is not treatable and the efficacy of vaccine control is controversial. The clinical phase of the disease is characterised by diarrhoea, weight loss, drop in milk production and eventually death. Susceptibility to MAP infection is heritable with heritability estimates ranging from 0.06 to 0.10. There have been several studies over the last few years that have identified genetic loci putatively associated with MAP susceptibility, however, with the availability of genome-wide high density SNP maker panels it is now possible to carry out association studies that have higher precision.


The objective of the current study was to localize genes having an impact on Johne's disease susceptibility using the latest bovine genome information and a high density SNP panel (Illumina BovineSNP50 BeadChip) to perform a case/control, genome-wide association analysis. Samples from MAP case and negative controls were selected from field samples collected in 2007 and 2008 in the province of Lombardy, Italy. Cases were defined as animals serologically positive for MAP by ELISA. In total 966 samples were genotyped: 483 MAP ELISA positive and 483 ELISA negative. Samples were selected randomly among those collected from 119 farms which had at least one positive animal.


THE ANALYSIS OF THE GENOTYPE DATA IDENTIFIED SEVERAL CHROMOSOMAL REGIONS ASSOCIATED WITH DISEASE STATUS: a region on chromosome 12 with high significance (P<5x10(-6)), while regions on chromosome 9, 11, and 12 had moderate significance (P<5x10(-5)). These results provide evidence for genetic loci involved in the humoral response to MAP. Knowledge of genetic variations related to susceptibility will facilitate the incorporation of this information into breeding programmes for the improvement of health status.

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