Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 February 2018

special test for immunity genes

John Shirley

I see that the issue of natural or genetic immunity to disease in cattle has now been acknowledged in Ireland by Teagasc and ICBF.

I first came across this phenomenon with the Canadian cattle breeding company Semex. Semex is promoting some of their Holstein bulls as Immunity Plus bulls, whose daughters are more resistant to mastitis and other common ailments.

Working along with Prof Bonnie Mallard, of the University of Guelph in Ontario, Semex reckon that they have a genetic test which can identify bulls carrying the genes that deliver the high immunity trait.

As of yet this test is patented by Guelph University and not widely available. Semex reckon that the immunity genes are quite heritable.

At about 25c the heritability of immunity response is in the same ballpark as production traits such as milk yield and production traits.

I am interested in how Teagasc will proceed with this new science. If anybody can crack it, Dr Donagh Berry of Moorepark will.

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Irish Independent