Genetics offers a means of increasing the resistance of animals to a variety of infectious diseases, either through increasing resistance to infection or increasing resistance to the pathogenic consequences of infection, i.e., disease. Opportunities exist across all major domestic species, for diseases caused by all major types of pathogens. Genetic variation in resistance may be exploited through appropriate breed choice, by selecting on the host's response to infection, or by using genetic markers, thus avoiding the need for infectious challenge.
Opportunities for genetically improving disease resistance will increase as our understanding of genes underlying resistance increases. Simultaneously, breeders will be forced to consider alternative and complementary disease control measures. Together, these factors will lead to greater emphasis on disease resistance in breeding programs.
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