One reason why domestic sheep are such disease ridden menaces?

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.







  1. jdubya Avatar

    “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.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan