Merino Sheep
Original Published Date: 
Friday, July 26, 2019

Full article issued by The University of Western Australia.

A global research project led by ARC-supported researchers at The University of Western Australia in collaboration with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Western Australia has identified compounds in Merino sheep wool that are attractive to Australian blowflies. The discovery, published in Medical and Veterinary Entomology, could help breeders develop fly-resistant flocks of sheep, which will improve animal welfare and productivity. 

The research team, which includes ARC Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) recipient, Dr Bjorn Bohman, say that the findings could help to prevent flystrike, a distressing disease caused by blowflies, which poses a significant health risk to sheep and which has been estimated to cost the agriculture industry $280 million annually. The researchers say that identifying the compounds which attack flies is a step in the right direction towards the development of more clean, green and ethical approaches to preventing flystrike. 

Photo credit: 

A Merino sheep. Credit: Jean (Flickr) (CC BY 2.0).