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How hosts control worms

Stear, M.J. and Bairden, K. and Duncan, J.L. and Holmes, P.H. and McKellar, Q.A. and Park, M. and Strain, S. and Gettinby, G. (1997) How hosts control worms. Nature, 389 (6646). p. 27. ISSN 0028-0836

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Abstract

Nematodes are a major cause of disease and death in humans, domestic animals and wildlife. Understanding why some individuals suffer severely whereas others exposed to the same infection remain healthy may assist in the development of rational and sustainable strategies to control infection. Here, using a quantitative genetic analysis of the parasitic nematode population that had accumulated naturally in lambs, we find no apparent influence of host genetics on nematode numbers but an extremely strong influence on average worm length and fecundity. Our results indicate that in growing lambs the main manifestation of genetic resistance is the control of worm fecundity.