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What is the CarLA™ Saliva Test?

Fecal egg counts (FEC) have many uses, but also many limitations. They are time-consuming, costly, and potentially unreliable. They don't necessarily correlate with worm burdens. More than 10 years ago, immunological markers were proposed as an alternative method to measure worm burden and resistance in sheep.

The CARLA saliva test is a revolutionary new way to test for parasite resistance in sheep. The test measures antibodies against worm larvae in sheep saliva: animals with high levels of antibodies are better at preventing worms establishing in the gut. IgA is heritable and negatively correlated with FEC. The heritablity of IgA ranges from 0.46 to 0.67 (much higher than fecal egg count resistance. Thus selection for IgA instead of FEC should be faster.

The Carla Saliva Test was developed by New Zealand researchers and has been studied in other countries, with difference worm species. In New Zealand, there is an EBV for the saliva test, providing a basis of selection for parasite resistance

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