sign uplog in
Want to go ad-free? Find out how, here.

New DNA test for dairy facial excema

New DNA test for dairy facial excema
NZ's leading DNA animal testing service, Genomnzâ„¢, a service of AgResearch, is about to launch a DNA testing service for facial eczema (FE) that could save the dairy industry millions of dollars per year. This DNA marker test, which can be applied to Holstein-Friesian or Jersey cattle will include microsatellite markers for both profiling and parentage testing as well as genetic markers that can estimate facial eczema resistance or susceptibility. AgResearch Senior Scientist, Dr Chris Morris says FE resistance or susceptibility is a heritable trait, which can be a serious animal health problem for dairy cattle, in NZ. It is caused by the toxin, sporidesmin, produced by spores of a fungus, Pithomyces chartarum, found on many pastures in summer and autumn. The disease occurs mainly in the upper North Island and in Gisborne and Taranaki, but in years with serious outbreaks it can be much more widespread. In susceptible cows, sporidesmin causes liver injury, with deleterious effects on milk production and survival in the herd.  The DNA marker test now available could save up to $39 million of the total costs of FE in a serious-outbreak year, if all FE-prone herds were protected genetically.

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.