Genetic resistance to infectious diseases has been a subject of many controversies. The finding in the last 30 years of a number of polymorphisms in genes strongly influencing the outcome of the infectious process in various species has given a definitive response to the question of the existence of genetic resistance to infection. Looking for such genes has now been largely recognized has a powerful tool for the analysis of host/pathogens interaction mechanisms. In domestic species, direct selection of resistant populations is considered as a promising strategy against a number of infectious diseases. In these species, the use of genetic resistance should have advantages in a number of cases. The first idea coming to mind concerns its use against diseases for which we do not have any other possibility, neither vaccine nor therapeutics having been found. Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE) may represent the archetype of such diseases. The second area of major interest for the use of genetic resistance in farm animals are diseases due to a variety of pathogens using similar mechanisms to invade the host and/or to determine lesions as in the case of gastrointestinal nematodes. A third major goal of this approach is the possibility to decrease the carrier state in contaminated animals. Carriage of infectious pathogens by animals without clinical sign is largely responsible for the transmission to human of a number of infectious diseases. In the present communication devoted to the interest of using molecular tools for the discovery and the use of resistance genes in domestic animals, we will take a number of examples from studies on these pathogens of concern both for farm animals and human.
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 2002. Session 13, , 13.12, 2002
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