Identification and characterisation of 17 polymorphic candidate genes for response to parasitic nematode (Trichostrongylus tenuis) infection in red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica)

Marius Alexander Wenzel, Lucy M. I. Webster, Steve Paterson, Stuart B. Piertney

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The red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica) is an economically important game bird species endemic to the upland heather moors of the British Isles, where its conservation status is "amber" due to long-term declines in breeding populations. One major driver of grouse population ecology is chronic infection by the highly prevalent, gastrointestinal parasitic nematode Trichostrongylus tenuis. Here, we outline the identification and characterisation of 17 candidate genes for the physiological response of red grouse to parasite infection, developed de novo from functional and genetic analysis of grouse transcriptomic and genomic resources. These genes capture broad physiological functions, including immune system processes, xenobiotics detoxification, oxidative balance, metabolism and cell cycle regulation. All genes were polymorphic at the landscape scale in north-east Scotland, indicating great utility for characterising the causes and consequences of spatio-temporal genetic variation in relation to parasite-mediated eco-evolutionary processes in red grouse populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-28
Number of pages6
JournalConservation Genetics Resources
Issue number1
Early online date31 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


  • red grouse
  • lagopus
  • parasite
  • candidate genes
  • adaptive genetic diversity
  • population genomics
  • population-dynamics

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