The main objective is to determine the tissue distribution of BSE after oral exposure of goats and to do this while simultaneously generating indispensable data on genetic susceptibility in the most common used production breeds.
This proposal aims at: <OL> <LI> Providing data for the evaluation of human risk associated with goat BSE passage in goat.
<LI> Providing pathogenesis data and biological material from first and second passage BSE in goats.
<LI> Evaluating the possibility of BSE self-maintenance in goat herds through maternal or horizontal transmission.
<LI>Validating and improving our ability to detect caprine BSE and discriminate it from scrapie in goats.
In light of the known ability of the BSE agent to cross the animal/human species barrier, recent evidence establishing the presence of BSE in goat is especially alarming, as it represents a new potential risk of food-born contamination to human consumers of goat milk and meat products.
Our approach will integrate the predicted influence of PrP gene polymorphisms on scrapie and BSE susceptibility so that it could potentially be used for the control of field TSE outbreaks in goats. We will also document European field TSE strain variability in goats by recruiting a large number of TSE goat isolates from affected European countries. Already established or specifically created animals models (strain typing) and biochemical tools (PrPSc typing), will be investigated for their ability to efficiently discriminate goat BSE/scrapie in goats.
Finally, by measuring infectivity in various tissues (including skeletal muscle) and secretions (milk), collected from goats at different stages of BSE infection, we will provide indispensable essential valuable data for quantitative risk assessment. The participation in the consortium of a specialized breeders institute, as well as highly involved experts in the small ruminant TSE-field, will allow the best possible assessment of possible risks of goat BSE for the end-user.
For more information about this project, please visit the <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/food_quality/projects/153_en.ht…; target="_blank">European Commission Food Quality and Safety in Europe</a> Web site.