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Parasite Immunol. 2016 Sep;38(9):569-86. doi: 10.1111/pim.12347.

Immunogenomics of gastrointestinal nematode infection in ruminants - breeding for resistance to produce food sustainably and safely.

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School of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.
School of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.
Animal & Grassland Research & Innovation Centre, Athenry, Co. Galway, Ireland.


Gastrointestinal nematode (GIN) infection of ruminants represents a major health and welfare challenge for livestock producers worldwide. The emergence of anthelmintic resistance in important GIN species and the associated animal welfare concerns have stimulated interest in the development of alternative and more sustainable strategies aimed at the effective management of the impact of GINs. These integrative strategies include selective breeding using genetic/genomic tools, grazing management, biological control, nutritional supplementation, vaccination and targeted selective treatment. In this review, the logic of selecting for "resistance" to GIN infection as opposed to "resilience" or "tolerance" is discussed. This is followed by a review of the potential application of immunogenomics to genetic selection for animals that have the capacity to withstand the impact of GIN infection. Advances in relevant genomic technologies are highlighted together with how these tools can be advanced to support the integration of immunogenomic information into ruminant breeding programmes.


gastrointestinal nematodes; genetic selection; immunogenomics

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