Pilot project to verify serum IgA for breeding for worm resistance


Further information on breeding for worm resistance and updates on the  IgA project are available on the Signet Breeding Services website.

Beef & Lamb
Project code:
01 September 2020 - 31 March 2021
Project leader:

About this project

AHDB are working with Lleyn, Exlana and Romney breeders to look at the value of using IgA from blood serum to assess genetic resistance to worms. 

In 2020, AHDB funded a large project to collect Serum IgA and FEC measurements. From this data SRUC have estimated encouraging heritabilities for Serum IgA (~35%) and in one breed, they also found an encouraging genetic relationship with FEC traits.

While acknowledging the practical application of this new measurement into breeding evaluations is at an early stage, these results are encouraging. AHDB are currently funding work at SRUC to incorporate this data into future breeding programmes and deliver this service to Signet clients in 2022, having provided participating breeders with some preliminary EBVs in 2021.

Funding for English pedigree flocks continues in autumn 2021

In 2021 AHDB provided further support for English flocks. 

  • £4.50/sample for Serum IgA which covered a large proportion of the lab costs at BioBest
  • This does not include support toward any additional costs associated with materials, labour, postage or veterinary assistance
  • A maximum of 500 lambs/flock are supported

This offer is specifically for:

  • Clients in England, as this work is supported and funded by AHDB
  • Lambs known on the Signet database with accurate date of birth, weights recorded and both parents known and listed on the Signet database
  • The Lleyn, Exlana and Romney breeds as maternal breeds already engaged in this work
  • Samples taken between August and the end of October
  • The lambs being tested must be under a worm challenge (ideally worm count >300), a mob FEC sample should be taken to determine this