Estimating host genetic effects on susceptibility and infectivity to infectious diseases and their contribution to response to selection

M.T. Anche

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU

Abstract

Mahlet Teka Anche. (2016). Estimating host genetic effects on susceptibility and infectivity to infectious diseases and their contribution to response to selection. PhD thesis, Wageningen University, the Netherlands

Genetic approaches aiming to reduce the prevalence of an infection in a population usually focus on improving host susceptibility to an infection. The prevalence of an infection, however, is also affected by the infectivity of individuals. Studies reported that there exists among host (genetic/phenotypic) variation in susceptibility and infectivity to infectious diseases. The effect of host genetic variation in susceptibility and infectivity on the prevalence and risk of an infection is usually measured by the value of the basic reproduction ratio, R0. R0 is an important epidemiological parameter that determines the risk and prevalence of an infection. It has a threshold value of 1, where major disease outbreak can occur when R0 > 1 and the disease will die out when R0 < 1. Due to this threshold property, genetic improvements aiming to reduce the prevalence of an infection should focus on reducing R0 to a value below 1. The overall aim of this thesis was to develop methodologies that allow us to investigate the genetic effects of host susceptibility and infectivity on the prevalence of an infection, which is measured by the value of R0. Moreover, we also aim to investigating the effect of relatedness among groupmates on the utilization of among host genetic variation in susceptibility and infectivity so as to reduce the prevalence of infectious diseases. The theory of direct-indirect genetic effects and epidemiological concepts were combined to develop methodologies. In addition, a simulation study was performed to validate the methodologies developed and examine the effect of relatedness on the utilization of genetic variation in susceptibility and infectivity. It was shown that an individual’s genetic effect on its susceptibility and infectivity affect the prevalence of an infection and that an individual’s breeding value for R0 can be defined as a function of its own allele frequencies for susceptibility and infectivity and of population average susceptibility and infectivity. Moreover, simulation results show that, not only an individual’s infectivity but also an individual’s susceptibility represents an indirect genetic effect on the disease status of individuals and on the prevalence of an infection in a population. It was shown that having related groupmates allows breeders to utilize the genetic variation in susceptibility and infectivity, so as to reduce the prevalence of an infection.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • de Jong, Mart, Promotor
  • Bijma, Piter, Co-promotor
Award date15 Jun 2016
Place of PublicationWageningen
Publisher
Print ISBNs9789462577442
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • livestock
  • hosts
  • genetic effects
  • susceptibility
  • infectivity
  • infectious diseases
  • breeding value
  • heritability
  • epidemics

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