As reported in Country-Wide (December 2011), confirmation of the long-suspected genetic link followed research by Professor Frank Griffin, Disease Research Laboratory (DRL), and Dr Colin Mackintosh, AgResearch, using records from Peel Forest’s Red deer stud.
Griffin said he was lucky to access purebred animals with good records at a time when the herd was exposed to high levels of infection.
“We stumbled across a valuable resource and (as a result) we hope we’ll be able to identify the essential genes (responsible for both susceptibility and resistance).”
Carr called in DRL after reaching a crisis point with Johne’s in 2001 and calling a halt to stud stock sales. He approached Griffin because of his success in developing the Paralisa test for Johne’s disease caused by infection with the bacterium Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis (MAP), related to Mycobacterium tuberculosis that causes Tb.
Carr estimated that the fall-out from Johne’s had cost Peel Forest $2 million in lost production and sales revenue, plus the labour and animals used in the research.
The first Johne’s-resilient stock were offered at their 2012 sale.