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Article

Selective Breeding for Disease-Resistant PRNP Variants to Manage Chronic Wasting Disease in Farmed Whitetail Deer

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Graduate Studies, Midwestern University, Glendale, AZ 85331, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Janna Willoughby and Elizabeth Kierepka
Genes 2021, 12(9), 1396; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12091396
Received: 11 August 2021 / Revised: 3 September 2021 / Accepted: 8 September 2021 / Published: 10 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics in Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation and Management)
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) of cervids caused by a misfolded variant of the normal cellular prion protein, and it is closely related to sheep scrapie. Variations in a host’s prion gene, PRNP, and its primary protein structure dramatically affect susceptibility to specific prion disorders, and breeding for PRNP variants that prevent scrapie infection has led to steep declines in the disease in North American and European sheep. While resistant alleles have been identified in cervids, a PRNP variant that completely prevents CWD has not yet been identified. Thus, control of the disease in farmed herds traditionally relies on quarantine and depopulation. In CWD-endemic areas, depopulation of private herds becomes challenging to justify, leading to opportunities to manage the disease in situ. We developed a selective breeding program for farmed white-tailed deer in a high-prevalence CWD-endemic area which focused on reducing frequencies of highly susceptible PRNP variants and introducing animals with less susceptible variants. With the use of newly developed primers, we found that breeding followed predictable Mendelian inheritance, and early data support our project’s utility in reducing CWD prevalence. This project represents a novel approach to CWD management, with future efforts building on these findings. View Full-Text
Keywords: prion; deer; PRNP; selective breeding; resistance; susceptibility; CWD prion; deer; PRNP; selective breeding; resistance; susceptibility; CWD
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MDPI and ACS Style

Haley, N.; Donner, R.; Merrett, K.; Miller, M.; Senior, K. Selective Breeding for Disease-Resistant PRNP Variants to Manage Chronic Wasting Disease in Farmed Whitetail Deer. Genes 2021, 12, 1396. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12091396

AMA Style

Haley N, Donner R, Merrett K, Miller M, Senior K. Selective Breeding for Disease-Resistant PRNP Variants to Manage Chronic Wasting Disease in Farmed Whitetail Deer. Genes. 2021; 12(9):1396. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12091396

Chicago/Turabian Style

Haley, Nicholas, Rozalyn Donner, Kahla Merrett, Matthew Miller, and Kristen Senior. 2021. "Selective Breeding for Disease-Resistant PRNP Variants to Manage Chronic Wasting Disease in Farmed Whitetail Deer" Genes 12, no. 9: 1396. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12091396

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