Segregation of natural and experimental gastrointestinal nematode infection in F2 progeny of susceptible Suffolk and resistant Gulf Coast Native sheep and its usefulness in assessment of genetic variation

Document Type


Publication Date



Gastrointestinal nematode parasitism is a concern to small ruminants worldwide. Productivity has been compromised because such nematodes, particularly Haemonchus contortus, have developed resistance to available anthelmintics. Some sheep breeds and lines within breeds are relatively resistant to infection, a trait that may be useful for developing control strategies. Suffolk sheep, which are susceptible to infection, were crossed with Gulf Coast Native sheep, which are more resistant to infection, to produce F1 progeny. F1 rams were bred to F1 ewes which produced 227 F2 offspring. These F2 offspring were evaluated for variability in infection levels, based on fecal egg count (FEC) and blood packed cell volume (PCV), under two natural infection conditions (one at weaning and another after a summer grazing period) and one experimental infection. The range of both FEC and PCV was large for all three infection periods with annual variation. Overall, the range for the three infection periods, respectively, were 167-149,933, 0-31,400 and 17-114,667 eggs per gram (EPG) of feces and 8.7-37.0%, 7.3-33.0% and 8.3-36.0%. This segregation of infection is what would be expected of F2 progeny from susceptible and resistant parent breeds. Heritabilities of FEC and PCV for the three infection periods, respectively, were 0.15, 0.29 and 0.12, and 0.11, 0.22 and 0.12. Based on segregation of infection, larger heritabilities and maternal environment effects that declined after weaning, the summer natural infection was probably the best model for assessing genetic variation. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Veterinary Parasitology

First Page


Last Page


This document is currently not available here.