NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - Orchid Cellmark today said it has renewed an ongoing contract with the United Kingdom to continue offering genotyping services to sheep farmers in an effort to combat scrapie.
The company reported that the contract, awarded under the National Scrapie Plan for Great Britain, is worth more than $3.5 million per year.
The UK government extended the contract through 2007 and 2008, Orchid said.
Orchid will use its DNA testing services to help sheep farmers breed sheep that are less genetically susceptible to the disease. The UK plan hopes to use genetic analysis to completely eradicate the disease.
Scrapie, a spongiform encephalopathy named for one of its symptoms (sheep with scrapie tend to scrape their fleece against rocks and fences), causes significant losses to farmers around the world annually.