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  • 1 University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Košice Department of Microbiology and Immunology Komenského 73 041 81 Košice Slovakia
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This study was conducted to investigate the presence of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the coding region of the bovine prion protein (PrP) gene among healthy and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE-) affected cattle in Slovakia. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) followed by DNA sequencing were used to identify SNPs and variations in octapeptide repeats. Altogether three single nucleotide polymorphisms (g234a, c339t and c576t) and variations in the number of octapeptide repeat units (5 or 6) were found in the analysed part of the prion protein gene. All single nucleotide polymorphisms were silent, causing no amino acid changes. Significant differences (P < 0.05) in the genotype distribution of g234a polymorphism were observed when the homozygous genotype with a mutated allele (caa/caa) was compared to the heterozygous genotype -/cag among healthy and BSE-affected cattle. The homozygous genotype caa/caa was characteristic of the group of BSE-affected cattle. Additionally, the homozygous genotype caa/caa was significant for the group of Simmental crossbreeds among healthy cattle. The allele and genotype distribution of the other polymorphisms was not significantly different among groups of healthy and BSE-affected cattle. The possible influence of a silent mutation on expression of the gene is not clearly determined and needs further investigations.

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