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Phylodynamic analyses of the epidemiology of M. Bovis in Britain and Ireland - SE3302

Bovine TB R&D Programme 2017/18 intend to leverage R&D evidence by contributing to research commissioned by BBSRC which is relevant to TB R&D Programme. In particular we will contribute to research undertaken at Glasgow University entitled ‘Tackling a multi-host pathogen problem - phylodynamic analyses of the epidemiology of M. bovis in Britain and Ireland’ where Whole Genome Sequencing techniques are used to analyse samples collected from cattle and badgers in the UK and Ireland, and the DNA sequences compared. This can be used to assess whether cattle and badgers from the same geographical area are affected by the same strain of TB and to assess the spread of TB strains between geographical areas and across time.

Importantly for Defra, this data will be used to inform mathematical models of disease spread in cattle and in badgers, and will be able to inform the current Defra TB Modelling Initiative study (SE3292), to generate a comprehensive model of TB across GB taking into account both cattle and badger aspects. In addition this data will inform the effect of long term culling, as used in Ireland, to assess the benefit of such a policy for TB control in England.

Defra will contribute 10% of the total study costs, under the Government Partnership Agreement, thus leveraging at 1:9 ratio to produce data to inform a high priority Defra TB model.
•Obj.1. generate M. bovis sequence data over broad geographical scales in RoI in order to describe the spatio-temporal phylogenetic relationship between M. bovis found in cattle and badgers at the farm-to-farm scale (UCD).
•Obj.2. quantify the spatial scale at which M. bovis circulates locally in cattle and badgers in RoI (UCD) by mapping phylogenetic data generated from objective 1 onto recorded locations of cattle herds and culled badgers and identifying key statistical metrics for the association. This will be compared to equivalent data from NI and GB (UG, under separately funded project)
•Obj.3. compare inter-species mixing between M. bovis strains found in GB, NI and RoI using robust metrics and signatures derived from the M. bovis phylogenies (UCD/UG).
•Obj.4. develop network-based models that capture key factors of possible population density dependence and badger perturbation (UG) and cross referenced to more detailed studies of densely sampled badger and cattle-derived populations of M. bovis (identified in Obj.s 2 and 3).
•Obj.5. fit the models from Obj. 4 to the epidemiological and genetic data to models of M. bovis transmission in cattle and badgers in RoI, GB and NI (UG).
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2017

To: 2020

Cost: £55,092
Contractor / Funded Organisations