The unique resistance and resilience of the Nigerian West African Dwarf goat to gastrointestinal nematode infections

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Abstract

Background. West African Dwarf (WAD) goats serve an important role in the rural village economy of West Africa, especially among small-holder livestock owners. They have been shown to be trypanotolerant and to resist infections with Haemonchus contortus more effectively than any other known breed of goat. Methods. In this paper we review what is known about the origins of this goat breed, explain its economic importance in rural West Africa and review the current status of our knowledge about its ability to resist parasitic infections. Conclusions. We suggest that its unique capacity to show both trypanotolerance and resistance to gastrointestinal (GI) nematode infections is immunologically based and genetically endowed, and that knowledge of the underlying genes could be exploited to improve the capacity of more productive wool and milk producing, but GI nematode susceptible, breeds of goats to resist infection, without recourse to anthelmintics. Either conventional breeding allowing introgression of resistance alleles into susceptible breeds, or transgenesis could be exploited for this purpose. Appropriate legal protection of the resistance alleles of WAD goats might provide a much needed source of revenue for the countries in West Africa where the WAD goats exist and where currently living standards among rural populations are among the lowest in the world. © 2011 Chiejina and Behnke; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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Chiejina, S. N., & Behnke, J. M. (2011). The unique resistance and resilience of the Nigerian West African Dwarf goat to gastrointestinal nematode infections. Parasites and Vectors. https://doi.org/10.1186/1756-3305-4-12

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