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Journal of Applied Genetics 50(4), 2009, pp. 371-374

Prion protein gene polymorphism in healthy and BSE-affected Slovak cattle

S. Hresko, M. Mojzis , L. Tkacikova

Abstract: Variation of the PrP gene was examined in healthy and BSE-affected Slovak cattle. According to previous studies, the 23-bp indel polymorphism is supposed to be associated with higher susceptibility to BSE. We investigated 301 samples from healthy cattle of various Slovak breeds and 24 samples obtained from tissues of BSE-affected cattle in Slovakia. We examined the PrP gene for the 23-bp indel polymorphism in the putative promoter region, 12-bp indel polymorphism in the first intron of the PrP gene, variations in number of octapeptide repeat units, and presence of the silent AAC>AAT transition in codon 192 within the protein-coding region of the PrP gene. Altogether we found 23 different genotypes in the group of healthy cattle and only 6 genotypes in the group of BSE-affected cattle. Comparison of homozygotes for the 23-bp insertion and heterozygotes showed significant differences (P < 0.05) in genotype distribution between the examined groups. Thereby the homozygous insertion genotype at the 23-bp indel polymorphism site in the promoter region of the prion protein gene seems to have a protective effect against BSE.

Key words: bovine spongiform encephalopathy, cattle, PCR, polymorphism, prion protein gene

Correspondence: S. Hresko, Institute of Immunology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Komenskeho 73, 04181 Kosice, Slovak Republic; e-mail:

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