Resistance to the tick Rhipicephalus microplus and Babesia bovis infection levels in beef heifers raised in an endemic area of Sao Paulo state, Brazil
MetadataShow full item record
Repeatability coefficients (r) for tick resistance and Babesia bovis infection levels and the correlation () between these traits were estimated in beef heifers, using artificial infestations and short intervals between measurements. Forty heifers, including 20 Bos taurus taurus (Caracu) and 20 Bos taurus indicus (Nelore) animals, were submitted to three artificial infestations with Rhipicephalus microplus larvae at intervals of 14 days. The number of standard female was counted from the 19th through the 23rd day after each infestation, considering only the left side of each animal. Blood samples were collected on Days 0, 6, 20, 34 and 48 after the first infestation. The number of copies of B. bovis DNA (CN) was estimated from blood samples through the quantitative PCR technique to evaluate the level of infection in the animals. Total tick count (TTC), the percentage of return (PRij) and CN were analysed using the MIXED procedure of the SAS program. The r of the variables were estimated by intraclass correlation between measures of the same animal, with the variance component of the animal being divided by the phenotypic variance (residual + animal), using models with a CS structure matrix. Additionally, among variables were estimated using the CORR procedure. The following results were obtained for Caracu and Nelore animals, respectively: 1.83 +/- 0.37 and 0.63 +/- 0.40 for TTC, 1.10 +/- 0.23 and 0.47 +/- 0.23 for PRij, and 2.29 +/- 0.64 and 2.32 +/- 0.58 for CN. The r was moderate for TTC (0.62) and PRij (0.53) and low for CN (0.10). The between TTC and CN obtained in the same measurement day was not significant in either breed (P > 0.05; -0.07 for Caracu and 0.19 for Nelore). Results showed both breeds were able to develop resistance against B. bovis; however, Nelore exhibited higher tick resistance. The r obtained for CN and the weak association with tick resistance indicate that it is not possible to recommend the use of CN as a trait to predict tick resistance in these two breeds.