The aim of this joint FSA/Defra study is to investigate scrapie in goats and its potential risk to human health. The disease is little understood in goats and it is hoped the project will identify whether there is any genetic variation in the prion protein (PrP) gene. <P>
The project will also examine a wide range of tissues from infected animals to determine the distribution of infectivity in infected animals.
The first objective of this research project is to determine if variation in the caprine PrP gene affects susceptibility to scrapie in UK goats. This research builds on research already performed under the Defra research programme. Animals will be tested for scrapie using immunohistochemistry (IHC). The distribution of PrP in scrapie-affected goats will be determined by examining multiple tissues. These include: brain, spinal cord, intestine, spleen, eye, palatine tonsil, mammary gland and a selection of lymph nodes. The IHC results will not only show which tissues in goats contain PrP but also aid determine the presence of different IHC phenotypes amongst the scrapie positive goats. In the final objective, eight goats showing clinical signs of scrapie will be selected for milking. This milk will be stored and used in a later Defra study, the aim of which is to investigate whether scrapie can be transmitted through milk from infected goats.
<P>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="http://www.food.gov.uk/science/research/" target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.