Whipworms (Trichuris spp.) infect a variety of hosts, including domestic animals and humans. Of considerable interest is the porcine whipworm, T. suis, which is particularly prevalent in outdoor production systems. High infection levels may cause growth retardation, anaemia and haemorrhagic diarrhoea. A significant proportion of the variation in Trichuris faecal egg count (FEC) has been attributed to the host's genetic make-up. The aim of the present study was to identify genetic loci associated with resistance to T. suis in pigs. We used single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers to perform a whole-genome scan of an F1 resource population (n=195) trickle-infected with T. suis. A measured genotype analysis revealed a putative quantitative trait locus (QTL) for T. suis FEC on chromosome 13 covering ~4.5Mbp, although none of the SNPs reached genome-wide significance. We tested the hypothesis that this region of SSC13 harboured genes with effects on T. suis burden by genotyping three SNPs within the putative QTL in unrelated pigs exposed to either experimental or natural T. suis infections and from which we had FEC (n=113) or worm counts (n=178). In these studies, two of the SNPs (rs55618716, ST) were associated with FEC (P<0.01), thus confirming our initial findings. However, we did not find any of the SNPs to be associated with T. suis worm burden. In conclusion, our study demonstrates that genetic markers for resistance to T. suis as indicated by low FEC can be identified in pigs.
- Host genetics
- Single nucleotide polymorphism
- Trichuris suis
- Whole-genome scan
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