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Heritable variation to gastrointestinal nematodes in an unmanaged mammal population.

Smith, J. A. and Wilson, Kenneth and Pilkington, J. G. and Pemberton, J. M. (1999) Heritable variation to gastrointestinal nematodes in an unmanaged mammal population. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 266 (1425). pp. 1283-1290. ISSN 0962-8452

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Abstract

The impact of parasites on natural populations has received considerable attention from evolutionary biologists in recent years. Central to a number of theoretical developments during this period is the assumption of additive genetic variation in resistance to parasites. However, very few studies have estimated the heritability of parasite resistance under field conditions, and those that have are mainly restricted to birds and their ectoparasites. In this paper, to our knowledge, we show for the first time in a free-ranging mammal population, Soay sheep (Ovis aries) living on the islands of St Kilda, that there is significant heritable variation in resistance to gastrointestinal nematodes. This result is consistent with earlier studies on this population which have indicated locus-specific associations with parasite resistance. We discuss our results in the context of current studies examining heritable resistance to parasites in domestic sheep and the possible mechanisms of selective maintenance of genetic variation for resistance to gastrointestinal nematodes in the St Kilda Soay sheep population.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Lancaster Environment Centre
ID Code: 9025
Deposited By: Dr Kenneth Wilson
Deposited On: 21 May 2008 14:06
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2014 14:25
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/9025

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