Control of Infectious Diseases
Roslin logo

Breeding for tuberculosis resistant cattle

Scientists have identified genetic traits in cattle that might allow farmers to breed livestock with increased resistance to bovine tuberculosis.


Our research has demonstrated that resistance of dairy cattle to Mycobacterium bovis, which causes  bovine tuberculosis (TB), is partly heritable. We have identified regions of the bovine genome associated with resistance and shown that marker-assisted selection for cattle with improved resistance is feasible without interfering with the current skin test for tuberculosis.

In collaboration with our partners in Scotland’s Rural College and the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board, a pedigree-based genetic index has been developed to guide selective breeding (TB Advantage).

For further information please see our news story.

Original publications

  1. Raphaka K et al. (2017) Genomic regions underlying susceptibility to bovine tuberculosis in Holstein-Friesian cattle. BMC Genet. 18:27.
  2. Tsairidou S et al. (2014) Genomic prediction for tuberculosis resistance in dairy cattle. PLoS One 9:e96728.
  3. Bermingham ML et al. (2014) Genome-wide association study identifies novel loci associated with resistance to bovine tuberculosis. Heredity (Edinb) 112:543-51.