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A comparison of phenotypic traits related to trypanotolerance in five West African cattle breeds highlights the value of shorthorn taurine breeds

Berthier D., Peylhard M., Dayo G.K., Flori L., Sylla S., Bolly S., Sakande H., Chantal I., Thevenon S.. 2015. PloS One, 10 (5) : 21 p..

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126498

Background Animal African Trypanosomosis particularly affects cattle and dramatically impairs livestock development in sub-Saharan Africa. African Zebu (AFZ) or European taurine breeds usually die of the disease in the absence of treatment, whereas West African taurine breeds (AFT), considered trypanotolerant, are able to control the pathogenic effects of trypanosomosis. Up to now, only one AFT breed, the longhorn N'Dama (NDA), has been largely studied and is considered as the reference trypanotolerant breed. Shorthorn taurine trypanotolerance has never been properly assessed and compared to NDA and AFZ breeds. Methodology/Principal Findings This study compared the trypanotolerant/susceptible phenotype of five West African local breeds that differ in their demographic history. Thirty-six individuals belonging to the longhorn taurine NDA breed, two shorthorn taurine Lagune (LAG) and Baoulé (BAO) breeds, the Zebu Fulani (ZFU) and the Borgou (BOR), an admixed breed between AFT and AFZ, were infected by Trypanosoma congolense IL1180. All the cattle were genetically characterized using dense SNP markers, and parameters linked to parasitaemia, anaemia and leukocytes were analysed using synthetic variables and mixed models. We showed that LAG, followed by NDA and BAO, displayed the best control of anaemia. ZFU showed the greatest anaemia and the BOR breed had an intermediate value, as expected from its admixed origin. Large differences in leukocyte counts were also observed, with higher leukocytosis for AFT. Nevertheless, no differences in parasitaemia were found, except a tendency to take longer to display detectable parasites in ZFU. Conclusions We demonstrated that LAG and BAO are as trypanotolerant as NDA. This study highlights the value of shorthorn taurine breeds, which display strong local adaptation to trypanosomosis. Thanks to further analyses based on comparisons of the genome or transcriptome of the breeds, these results open up the way for better knowledge of host-pathogen interactions and, furthermore, for identifying key biological pathways.

Mots-clés : bovin; zébu; race (animal); amélioration des animaux; trypanosoma; phénotype; résistance aux maladies; génétique des populations; enquête pathologique; adaptation; parasitisme; leucocyte; afrique au sud du sahara; burkina faso; bénin; mali

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