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Spider Lamb Syndrome (SLS) is a semi-lethal congenital disorder affecting the Suffolk and Hampshire sheep breeds. The clinical manifestations of the syndrome include severe skeletal and muscular abnormalities with long, fine-boned legs, curvature of the spine and nasal septum, minimal muscling and severe muscle atrophy. The affected animals have a difficult time walking and most lambs do not survive past the first six months of life. A single autosomal recessive gene causes the disorder. Researchers believe the SLS gene arose as a single source mutation in a popular Suffolk blood line in the 1970s. Heterozygous carriers of the SLS gene appear normal in phenotype and currently can only be identified through progeny testing. If researchers could identify a genetic marker that cosegregates with the SLS locus, this marker could be used for low-cost carrier screening. In this study, we tested 35 bovine and ovine dinucleotide microsatellite markers as possible markers for the Spider Lamb Syndrome gene. No strong evidence for linkage between the tested microsatellite markers and the SLS gene was found.

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Biology Commons



Faculty Mentor

Noelle E. Cockett