The objective of this cooperative research project is to investigate the influence of the bovine Prnp gene polymorphisms, E211K, on the susceptibility to BSE. Specifically, the research project will provide 134 embryos that will be used to generate approximately 62 animals, 31 of which will contain the rare allele for the purposes BSE research.
APPROACH: To achieve the research goals it is imperative to increase the number of animals available to study this Prnp polymorphism. One female calf of the 2006 BSE case was identified and carries the E211K allele. The specific objectives are to be accomplished through the production of multiple offspring from this E211K heifer through superovulation and embryo transfer. Approximately 50% of the offspring will be heterozygous for the E211K polymorphism while the others will serve as genetically matched non-E211K controls. Collection of semen from an E211K heterozygous bull will allow creation of E211K homozygotes. To protect this unique resource immediate collection of embryos is necessary. The initial goal is to harvest 134 embryos that should result in approximately 62 pregnancies (half of which will carry the E211K polymorphism) for immediate use in the studies to amplify the E211K material, test for genetic susceptibility to TSE, and develop a breeding group to produce calves for transmissibility studies.