Sheep laden with germs and parasites are more likely to produce lambs than less diseased sheep-

I don’t know if this is a strange result of evolution or due to deliberate breeding, but it is shocking.

Sheep Study Finds an Upside to a Weak Immune System. New York Times.

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is past President of the Western Watersheds Project and the creator of The Wildlife News.

One Response to One reason why domestic sheep are such disease ridden menaces?

  1. jdubya says:

    “strong immune system helps female sheep live longer, it is also associated with reduced reproductive success. ”

    ““It could just be an energy budget issue,” Dr. Graham said. “Energy put into producing antibodies could be reducing energy put into producing a fetus.” ”

    I read this article when it came out and think it is just stupid. The immune system is incredibly wasteful when it comes to “energy” and it doesn’t matter: they key thing is to get it right.

    We have known for a long time that sperm is capable of being rendered ineffective for fertilization if the female has antibodies specific for proteins present on the sperm. A ewe with antibody proteins that would recognize such sperm as foreign would thus be more infertile than a ewe lacking such an antibody response. I think that when this is really studied they will find that the reason for the infertility has nothing to do with “energy” (what a cop-out phrase) and everything to do with rejection of histo-incomptability, similar to anyone rejecting a kidney from an un-related donor.


October 2010


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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