Paradox of Genetic Diversity in the Case of Prionic Diseases in Sheep Breeds from Romania

Gheorghe Hrinca


The main target of this debate is the revaluation of the biodiversity concept and especially of its significance in the animal husbandry field. The paper analyzes the genetic diversity at the determinant locus of scrapie (PrP) in the sheep breeds from Romania: Palas Merino, Tsigai, Tsurcana, Botosani Karakul, Palas Meat Breed and Palas Milk Breed. The prionic genetic diversity (d) has been quantified by means of informational energy (e). This study highlights the impact of increasing the genetic diversity from the PrP locus level on the health status of ovine species and especially on human food safety. The informational statistics processing shows that the resistance / susceptibility to scrapie is in relation to the degree of prionic genetic diversity. The limitation of genetic diversity by selecting the individuals possessing the ARR allele in both homozygous status and in combination with alleles ARQ, ARH AHQ confers to sheep herds certain levels of resistance to contamination with scrapie disease. Instead, promoting to reproduction also individuals possessing the VRQ allele in all possible genotypic combinations (including ARR allele) increases genetic diversity but also has as effect increasing the susceptibility of sheep to prion disease onset. From the point of view of morbid phenomenon, the Botosani Karakul breed is clearly advantaged compared to all other indigenous sheep breeds from Romania. For methodological coherency in the interpretative context of this issue, the genetic diversity was analyzed in association with the heterozygosity degree of breeds and their Hardy-Weinberg genetic equilibrium at the PrP locus level. Finally, the paper refers to decisions that the improvers must take to achieve the genetic prophylaxis in the scrapie case taking into account the polymorphism degree of prion protein.


genetic diversity, informational energy, scrapie, sheep

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