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On the origin of the genetic variation in infectious disease prevalence: Genetic analysis of disease status versus infections for Digital Dermatitis in Dutch dairy cattle

Abstract : The purpose of this study was to investigate the origin of the genetic variation in the prevalence of bovine digital dermatitis (DD) by comparing a genetic analysis of infection events to a genetic analysis of disease status. DD is an important endemic infectious disease affecting the claws of cattle. For disease status, we analysed binary data on individual disease status (0,1; indicating being free versus infected), whereas for infections, we analysed binary data on disease transmission events (1,0; indicating becoming infected or not). The analyses of the two traits were compared using cross-validation. The analysis of disease status captures a combination of genetic variation in disease susceptibility and the ability of individuals to recover, whereas the analysis of infections captures genetic variation in susceptibility only. Estimated genetic variances for both traits indicated substantial genetic variation. The GEBV for disease status and infections correlated with only 0.60, indicating that both models indeed capture distinct information. Together, these results suggest the presence of genetic variation not only in disease susceptibility, but also in the ability of individuals to recover from DD. We argue that the presence of genetic variation in recovery implies that breeders should distinguish between infected individuals versus infectious individuals. This is because epidemiological theory shows that selection for recovery is effective only when it targets recovery from being infectious.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03279303
Contributor : Michel Leroux <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, July 6, 2021 - 2:04:29 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, July 6, 2021 - 2:04:30 PM

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Pranav Shrikant Kulkarni, Floor Biemans, Mart C.M. Jong, Piter Bijma. On the origin of the genetic variation in infectious disease prevalence: Genetic analysis of disease status versus infections for Digital Dermatitis in Dutch dairy cattle. Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Wiley, 2021, ⟨10.1111/jbg.12635⟩. ⟨hal-03279303⟩

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