U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version


Document Type



Published in Mammalian Genome (2006) 17: 1121-1129. DOI: 10.1007/s00335-006-0042-6


Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and haplotype alleles within the prion gene (PRNP) coding sequence of domestic sheep (Ovis aries) are associated with genetic predisposition to scrapie, a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy disease of sheep. This report describes regions of linkage disequilibrium (LD) throughout the PRNP gene region in U.S. sheep and provides a genetic framework for identifying additional PRNP determinants associated with scrapie resistance. Four sequence tagged sites (i.e., STS or amplicons) totaling 3869 bp and spanning 20 kbp of genomic PRNP sequence were sequenced in a diverse panel of 90 sires representing ten popular U.S. breeds of sheep. Analysis of these sequences identified 36 previously unreported polymorphisms. In combination with two previously characterized STS, 62 polymorphisms were analyzed in a 20-kbp PRNP region in this panel of U.S. sheep. Two regions of strong LD and ten common haplotypes were identified. The haplotype encoding amino acid residues A, R, and Q at codons 136, 154, and 171, respectively, was observed on nine larger haplotypes spanning PRNP from the promoter region to the 3' untranslated region. The haplotype encoding VRQ was observed on two larger haplotypes, whereas ARR, ARH, and AHQ were each present on a single haplotype. The existence of multiple haplotypes encoding ARQ raises the question of whether sheep bearing these different haplotypes are equally susceptible to scrapie. The haplotype structure within the 20-kbp region of PRNP identified in this study is important for higher-resolution analysis of genetics contributions to scrapie susceptibility.