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This article is part of the supplement: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Animal Genomics for Animal Health (AGAH 2010)

Open Access Proceedings

Expression of trypanotolerance in N’Dama x Boran crosses under field challenge in relation to N’Dama genome content

Caleb Orenge12, Leonard Munga1, Charles Kimwele2, Steve Kemp34, Abraham Korol5, John Gibson6, Olivier Hanotte7 and Morris Soller8*

Author Affiliations

1 Kenya Agricultural Research Institute - Trypanosomiasis Research Centre (KARI-TRC), Kikuyu, Kenya

2 Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology, University of Nairobi, Kenya

3 School of Biological sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7ZB, UK

4 International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Nairobi-Kenya

5 Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, Haifa 31905, Israel

6 The Centre For Genetic Analysis and Applications, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 235, Australia

7 School of Biology, University of Nottingham, School of Biology, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK

8 Department of Genetics, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 91904 Jerusalem, Israel

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BMC Proceedings 2011, 5(Suppl 4):S23  doi:10.1186/1753-6561-5-S4-S23

Published: 3 June 2011



Animal trypanosomosis in sub-Saharan Africa is a major obstacle to livestock based agriculture. Control relies on drugs with increasing incidence of multiple-drug resistance. A previous mapping experiment in an F2 population derived from the indigenous trypanotolerant N’Dama cattle crossed to susceptible (Kenya)-Boran cattle under controlled challenge, uncovered a number of trypanotolerance QTL (T-QTL). The present study was to determine expression of N’Dama trypanotolerance in a backcross to the Boran under conditions of field challenge, and whether chromosomal regions associated with trypanotolerance in the F2 experiment showed similar effects in the BC population.


192 backcross animals to the Boran were produced in six batches from June 2001 to December 2006. At one year of age animals were moved to the field and exposed to natural challenge over about one year in Southwest Kenya (Narok). The animals were individually recorded weekly for body weight, packed cell volume, parasitaemia score, and drug treatments, and were genotyped using 35 microsatellite markers spanning 5 chromosomes found in the F2 study to harbour T-QTL.


The F1 were most trypanotolerant, Boran least, and BC intermediate. Females showed distinctly higher trypanotolerance than males. There was a positive correlation in the BC population between trypanotolerance and number of N’Dama origin marker alleles. QTL mapping revealed T-QTL distributed among all five targeted chromosomes, corresponding in part to the results obtained in the F2 experiment.


N’Dama origin trypanotolerance is expressed in a BC population under field conditions in proportion to N’Dama origin marker alleles. Consequently, marker assisted selection in such populations may be a means of increasing trypanotolerance, while retaining the desirable productive qualities of the recurrent parent.