Infection by gastrointestinal helminths causes diarrhoea and costs the Australian sheep industry A$440m pa for treatment, prevention and production losses. Helminths have also become resistant to traditional medication. The sustainable solution is to breed sheep that resist helminth infection, but some resistant sheep still develop diarrhoea. To determine the causes, we studied gene expression in gastrointestinal tissues and found that, in sheep that are prone to diarrhoea, there is an over-expression of genes associated with tissue repair and inflammation, but an under-expression of genes associated with the immune response and ion transport. Therefore, these key genes need to be incorporated into breeding programs. We also studied the composition of the gut microbiome and found that the duodenum of helminth-resistant sheep is better adapted to restrict helminth growth. Finally, we studied the genome of a major helminth, Teladorsagia circumcincta, and produced a more complete reference genome, offering new opportunities for targeting the parasite.
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Award date||3 Jul 2022|
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2022|