The aim of this work package is to quantify the genetic contribution to host susceptibility or resistance, identify genome regions contributing to host resistance, and evaluate different strategies to improve host resistance.
Evidence from experimental and field studies indicates a significant effect of host genetics on the outcome of lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV) infection. In order to identify host genes involved in resistance to LSD clinical cases and matched controls will be sourced from archived experimental samples, and from outbreaks in consortium partner countries. We will collect DNA information and clinical data from 500 infected animals (cases) and match these with 500 animals from the same farms that did not succumb to LSD (controls). We will then carry out a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify genetic loci underlying susceptibility/resistance to LSD. The cattle will be genotyped and quantitative trait loci identified.
On the basis of the regions that will be identified and the overall genetic parameters for susceptibility/resistance to LSD we will do some computer simulations to evaluate different breeding strategies to improve LSD resistance. We can use DNA information to select for favourable gene variants (alleles) at either a few loci (Marker Assisted Selection) or the whole genome (Genomic Selection). If there are a few major genes affecting resistance, then we can evaluate scenarios where we use gene editing to modify bull to carry and transmit only the favourable alleles.