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BSE resistance and maternal transmission I WAS interested to read of the recent confirmation of an isolated case of BSE in the Republic of Ireland. From 1996, wearing two hats, as a veterinary surgeon in general practice, and as a vice-president of the Dexter Cattle Association, I urged Defra to look more closely at the possibility of genetic variation in susceptibility to BSE. Studies had been done, but involved few cattle from the British Isles other than Friesian/Holstein. It was agreed by Professor Patisson of the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee that further research would be possible, but he thought that it would take five to seven years to get an answer, by which time cases would be few and far between. In 1998 I made a submission to the BSE Inquiry under Professor Malcolm Ferguson-Smith in which I presented the scenario of apparent resistance to BSE combined with maternal transmission, which was by that time recognised as fact. The possibility I suggested was that by maternal transmission in a population of ‘resistant’ cattle, BSE could be present several generations later. What, I asked, would be the result of crossing ‘resistant’ lines of cattle with susceptible lines at a later date? I would respectfully suggest that the Irish case may be the result of such a set of circumstances. Duncan MacIntyre, Bute & Cowal Vets, 17 Argyle Street, Rothesay, Isle of Bute PA20 0AU e-mail: [email protected] doi: 10.1136/vr.h3841 80 | Veterinary Record | July 18, 2015

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BSE resistance and maternal transmission Duncan MacIntyre Veterinary Record 2015 177: 80

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