Browsing by Author "Allen, Adrian"
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ItemAn analysis of effects of heterozygosity in dairy cattle for bovine tuberculosis resistance(Wiley, 2018-01-24) Tsairidou, S.; Allen, Adrian; Pong-Wong, R.; McBride, S.H.; Wright, D.M.; Matika, O.; Pooley, C.M.; McDowell, Stanley W.J.; Glass, E.J.; Skuce, Robin A.; Bishop, S.C.; Woolliams, J.A.Genetic selection of cattle more resistant to bovine tuberculosis (bTB) may offer a complementary control strategy. Hypothesising underlying non-additive genetic variation, we present an approach using genome-wide high density markers to identify genomic loci with dominance effects on bTB resistance and to test previously published regions with heterozygote advantage in bTB. Our data comprised 1151 Holstein–Friesian cows from Northern Ireland, confirmed bTB cases and controls, genotyped with the 700K Illumina BeadChip. Genome-wide markers were tested for associations between heterozygosity and bTB status using marker-based relationships. Results were tested for robustness against genetic structure, and the genotypic frequencies of a significant locus were tested for departures from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. Genomic regions identified in our study and in previous publications were tested for dominance effects. Genotypic effects were estimated through ASReml mixed models. A SNP (rs43032684) on chromosome 6 was significant at the chromosome-wide level, explaining 1.7% of the phenotypic variance. In the controls, there were fewer heterozygotes for rs43032684 (P < 0.01) with the genotypic values suggesting that heterozygosity confers a heterozygote disadvantage. The region surrounding rs43032684 had a significant dominance effect (P < 0.01). SNP rs43032684 resides within a pseudogene with a parental gene involved in macrophage response to infection and within a copy-number-variation region previously associated with nematode resistance. No dominance effect was found for the region on chromosome 11, as indicated by a previous candidate region bTB study. These findings require further validation with large-scale data. ItemBovine Tuberculosis in Britain and Ireland – A Perfect Storm? the Confluence of Potential Ecological and Epidemiological Impediments to Controlling a Chronic Infectious Disease(Frontiers Media, 2018-06-05) Allen, Adrian; Skuce, Robin A.; Byrne, A.W.Successful eradication schemes for bovine tuberculosis (bTB) have been implemented in a number of European and other countries over the last 50 years. However, the islands of Britain and Ireland remain a significant aberration to this trend, with the recent exception of Scotland. Why have eradication schemes failed within these countries, while apparently similar programs have been successful elsewhere? While significant socioeconomic and political factors have been discussed elsewhere as key determinants of disease eradication, here we review some of the potential ecological and epidemiological constraints that are present in these islands relative to other parts of Europe. We argue that the convergence of these potential factors may interact additively to diminish the potential of the present control programs to achieve eradication. Issues identified include heterogeneity of diagnostic testing approaches, the presence of an abundant wildlife reservoir of infection and the challenge of sustainably managing this risk effectively; the nature, size, density and network structure of cattle farming; potential effects of Mycobacterium bovis strain heterogeneity on disease transmission dynamics; possible impacts of concurrent endemic infections on the disclosure of truly infected animals; climatological differences and change coupled with environmental contamination. We further argue that control and eradication of this complex disease may benefit from an ecosystem level approach to management. We hope that this perspective can stimulate a new conversation about the many factors potentially impacting bTB eradication schemes in Britain and Ireland and possibly stimulate new research in the areas identified. ItemBovine tuberculosis visible lesions in cattle culled during herd breakdowns: the effects of individual characteristics, trade movement and co-infection(Springer, 2017-12) Byrne, Andrew W.; Graham, Jordon; Brown, Craig; Donaghy, Aoibheann; Guelbenzu Gonzalo, Maria; McNair, James; Skuce, Robin A.; Allen, Adrian; McDowell, Stanley W.J.Background: Bovine tuberculosis (bTB), caused by Mycobacterium bovis, remains a significant problem for livestock industries in many countries worldwide including Northern Ireland, where a test and slaughter regime has utilised the Single Intradermal Comparative Cervical Tuberculin (SICCT) test since 1959. We investigated the variation in post-mortem confirmation based on bTB visible lesion (VL) presence during herd breakdowns using two model suites. We investigated animal-level characteristics, while controlling for herd-level factors and clustering. We were interested in potential impacts of concurrent infection, and therefore we assessed whether animals with evidence of liver fluke infection (Fasciola hepatica; post-mortem inspection), M. avium reactors (animals with negative M. bovis-avium (b-a) tuberculin reactions) or Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus (BVDV; RT-PCR tested) were associated with bTB confirmation. Results: The dataset included 6242 animals removed during the 14 month study period (2013–2015). bTB-VL presence was significantly increased in animals with greater b-a reaction size at the disclosing SICCT test (e.g. b-a = 5- 9 mm vs. b-a = 0 mm, adjusted Odds ratio (aOR): 14.57; p < 0.001). M. avium reactor animals (b-a < 0) were also significantly more likely to disclose VL than non-reactor animals (b-a = 0; aOR: 2.29; p = 0.023). Animals had a greater probability of exhibiting lesions with the increasing number of herds it had resided within (movement; logherds: aOR: 2.27–2.42; p < 0.001), if it had an inconclusive penultimate test result (aOR: 2.84–3.89; p < 0.001), and with increasing time between tests (log-time; aOR: 1.23; p = 0.003). Animals were less likely to have VL if they were a dairy breed (aOR: 0.79; p = 0.015) or in an older age-class (e.g. age-quartile 2 vs. 4; aOR: 0.65; p < 0.001). Liver fluke or BVDV variables were not retained in either multivariable model as they were non-significantly associated with bTB-VL status (p > 0.1). Conclusions: Our results suggest that neither co-infection of liver fluke nor BVDV had a significant effect on the presence of VLs in this high-risk cohort. M. avium tuberculin reactors had a significantly increased risk of disclosing with a bTB lesion, which could be related to the impact of co-infection with M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) affecting the performance of the SICCT however further research in this area is required. Movements, test history, breed and age were important factors influencing confirmation in high-risk animals. ItemCan We Breed Cattle for Lower Bovine TB Infectivity?(Frontiers Media, 2018-12-07) Tsairidou, Smaragda; Allen, Adrian; Banos, Georgios; Coffey, Mike; Anacleto, Osvaldo; Byrne, Andrew W.; Skuce, Robin; Glass, Elizabeth J.; Woolliams, John A.; Doeschl-Wilson, Andrea B.Host resistance and infectivity are genetic traits affecting infectious disease transmission. This Perspective discusses the potential exploitation of genetic variation in cattle infectivity, in addition to resistance, to reduce the risk, and prevalence of bovine tuberculosis (bTB). In bTB, variability in M. bovis shedding has been previously reported in cattle and wildlife hosts (badgers and wild boars), but the observed differences were attributed to dose and route of infection, rather than host genetics. This article addresses the extent to which cattle infectivity may play a role in bTB transmission, and discusses the feasibility, and potential benefits from incorporating infectivity into breeding programmes. The underlying hypothesis is that bTB infectivity, like resistance, is partly controlled by genetics. Identifying and reducing the number of cattle with high genetic infectivity, could reduce further a major risk factor for herds exposed to bTB. We outline evidence in support of this hypothesis and describe methodologies for detecting and estimating genetic parameters for infectivity. Using genetic-epidemiological predictionmodels we discuss the potential benefits of selection for reduced infectivity and increased resistance in terms of practical field measures of epidemic risk and severity. Simulations predict that adding infectivity to the breeding programme could enhance and accelerate the reduction in breakdown risk compared to selection on resistance alone. Therefore, given the recent launch of genetic evaluations for bTB resistance and the UK government’s goal to eradicate bTB, it is timely to consider the potential of integrating infectivity into breeding schemes. ItemDevelopment of polymorphic markers in the immune gene complex loci of cattle(Elsevier, 2021-03-06) Bakshy, K.; Heimeier, D.; Schwartz, J.C.; Glass, E.J.; Wilkinson, S.; Skuce, Robin A.; Allen, Adrian; Young, J.; McClure, J.C.; Null, D.J.; Hammond, J.A.; Smith, T.P.L.; Bickhart, D.M.The addition of cattle health and immunity traits to genomic selection indices holds promise to increase individual animal longevity and productivity, and decrease economic losses from disease. However, highly variable genomic loci that contain multiple immune-related genes were poorly assembled in the first iterations of the cattle reference genome assembly and underrepresented during the development of most commercial genotyping platforms. As a consequence, there is a paucity of genetic markers within these loci that may track haplotypes related to disease susceptibility. By using hierarchical assembly of bacterial artificial chromosome inserts spanning 3 of these immune-related gene regions, we were able to assemble multiple full-length haplotypes of the major histocompatibility complex, the leukocyte receptor complex, and the natural killer cell complex. Using these new assemblies and the recently released ARS-UCD1.2 reference, we aligned whole-genome shotgun reads from 125 sequenced Holstein bulls to discover candidate variants for genetic marker development. We selected 124 SNPs, using heuristic and statistical models to develop a custom genotyping panel. In a proof-of-principle study, we used this custom panel to genotype 1,797 Holstein cows exposed to bovine tuberculosis (bTB) that were the subject of a previous GWAS study using the Illumina BovineHD array. Although we did not identify any significant association of bTB phenotypes with these new genetic markers, 2 markers exhibited substantial effects on bTB phenotypic prediction. The models and parameters trained in this study serve as a guide for future marker discovery surveys particularly in previously unassembled regions of the cattle genome. ItemDoes Mycobacterium tuberculosis var. bovis survival in the environment confound bovine tuberculosis control and eradication? A literature review(Hindawi, 2021-02-05) Allen, Adrian; Ford, Tom; Skuce, Robin A.Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is one of the globe’s most common, multihost zoonoses and results in substantial socioeconomic costs for governments, farming industries, and tax payers. Despite decades of surveillance and research, surprisingly, little is known about the exact mechanisms of transmission. In particular, as a facultative intracellular pathogen, to what extent does survival of the causative agent, Mycobacterium tuberculosis var. bovis (M. bovis), in the environment constitute an epidemiological risk for livestock and wildlife? Due largely to the classical pathology of cattle cases, the received wisdom was that bTB was spread by direct inhalation and exchange of bioaerosols containing droplets laden with bacteria. Other members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) exhibit differing host ranges, an apparent capacity to persist in environmental fomites, and they favour a range of different transmission routes. It is possible, therefore, that infection from environmental sources of M. bovis could be a disease transmission risk. Recent evidence from GPS-collared cattle and badgers in Britain and Ireland suggests that direct transmission by infectious droplets or aerosols may not be the main mechanism for interspecies transmission, raising the possibility of indirect transmission involving a contaminated, shared environment. &e possibility that classical pulmonary TB can be simulated and recapitulated in laboratory animal models by ingestion of contaminated feed is a further intriguing indication of potential environmental risk. Livestock and wildlife are known to shedM. bovis onto pasture, soil, feedstuffs, water, and other fomites; field and laboratory studies have indicated that persistence is possible, but variable, under differing environmental conditions. Given the potential infection risk, it is timely to review the available evidence, experimental approaches, and methodologies that could be deployed to address this potential blind spot and control point. Although we focus on evidence from Western Europe, the concepts are widely applicable to other multihost bTB episystems. ItemEditorial: Bovine Tuberculosis—International Perspectives on Epidemiology and Management(Frontiers Media, 2019-06-25) Byrne, Andrew W.; Allen, Adrian; O'Brien, Daniel J.; Miller, Michele A.Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) remains a prominent zoonotic pathogen on the world stage, with significant impacts on animal and human health, and economic well-being. Eradication is hampered by a complex epidemiology, which in many countries involves wildlife hosts. Indeed, despite advances in understanding gleaned from national programs of bTB eradication, much of our understanding of transmission mechanisms, diagnostics, control, and multi-host infection systems remains opaque. In this collection of Frontiers in Veterinary Science, as editors, we felt these limitations could best be addressed by adopting an international perspective. Localism understandably focuses on the fine details of problems at hand, but can perhaps overlook issues that only become apparent when compared to the experiences of others. Below we summarize the papers published in this truly international collection, and highlight some themes. We trust readers will find these articles as stimulating to read as they were to edit. ItemEditorial: Evolution and genomics of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex(Frontiers Media, 2023-03-03) Guimaraes, Ana M. S.; Allen, Adrian; Price-Carter, Marian L. ItemEuropean badger (Meles meles) responses to low-intensity, selective culling: using mark recapture and relatedness data to assess social perturbation(Wiley, 2022-07-28) Allen, Adrian; Milne, Margaret Georgina; McCormick, Charles M.; Collins, Shane; O'Hagan, Maria; Skuce, Robin A.; Trimble, Nigel; Harwook, Roland; Menzies, Fraser; Byrne, Andrew W.Culling the main wildlife host of bovine tuberculosis in Great Britain (GB) and Ireland, the European badger (Meles meles), has been employed in both territories to reduce infections in cattle. In GB, this has been controversial, with results suggesting that culling induces disturbance to badger social structure, facilitating wider disease dissemination. Previous analyses hypothesized that even very low-level, selective culling may cause similar deleterious effects by increasing ranging of individuals and greater mixing between social groups. To assess this hypothesis, a novel, prospective, landscape-scale ‘before-and-after’ Test and Vaccinate or Remove (TVR) study was implemented. Test-positive badgers were culled and test-negative badgers were Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccinated and released. Mark–recapture metrics of badger ranging and genetic metrics of social group relatedness did not change significantly over the study period. However, selective culling was associated with a localized reduction in social group relatedness in culled groups. Ecological context is important; extrapolation across territories and other disease epidemiological systems (epi-systems) is likely to be challenging. However, we demonstrate that small-scale, selective removal of test-positive badgers was not associated with metrics of increased ranging but was associated with localized changes in social group relatedness. This adds to the evidence base on badger control options for policy makers. ItemEvidence for local and international spread of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis through whole genome sequencing of isolates from the island of Ireland(Elsevier, 2022-04-05) Perets, Viktor; Allen, Adrian; Crispell, Joseph; Cassidy, Sophie; O'Connor, Aoife; Farrell, Damien; Browne, John A.; O'Mahony, Jim; Skuce, Robin A.; Kenny, Kevin; Gordon, Stephen V.We describe application of whole genome sequencing (WGS) to a collection of 197 Mycobacterium avium subsp paratuberculosis (MAP) isolates gathered from 122 cattle herds across 27 counties of the island of Ireland. We compare WGS to MAP diversity quantified using mycobacterial interspersed random unit – variable number tandem repeats (MIRU-VNTR). While MIRU-VNTR showed only two major types, WGS could split the 197 isolates into eight major groups. We also found six isolates corresponding to INMV 13, a novel MIRU-VNTR type for Ireland. Evidence for dispersal of MAP across Ireland via cattle movement could be discerned from the data, with mixed infections present in several herds. Furthermore, comparisons of MAP WGS data from Ireland to data from Great Britain and continental Europe revealed many instances of close genetic similarity and hence evidence for international transmission of infection. BEAST MASCOT structured coalescent analyses, with relaxed and strict molecular clocks, estimated the substitution rate to be 0.10–0.13 SNPs/site/year and disclosed greater transitions per lineage per year from Europe to Ireland, indicating transmission into Ireland. Our work therefore reveals new insight into the seeding of MAP infection across Ireland, highlighting how WGS can inform policy formulation to ultimately control MAP transmission at local, national and international scales. ItemFine-mapping host genetic variation underlying outcomes to Mycobacterium bovis infection in dairy cows(BMC, 2017-06-24) Wilkinson, S.; Bishop, S.C.; Allen, Adrian; McBride, S.H.; Skuce, Robin; Bermingham, M.; Woolliams, J.A.Background: Susceptibility to Mycobacterium bovis infection in cattle is governed in part by host genetics. However, cattle diagnosed as infected with M. bovis display varying signs of pathology. The variation in host response to infection could represent a continuum since time of exposure or distinct outcomes due to differing pathogen handling. The relationships between host genetics and variation in host response and pathological sequelae following M. bovis infection were explored by genotyping 1966 Holstein-Friesian dairy cows at 538,231 SNPs with three distinct phenotypes. These were: single intradermal cervical comparative tuberculin (SICCT) test positives with visible lesions (VLs), SICCT-positives with undetected visible lesions (NVLs) and matched controls SICCT-negative on multiple occasions. Results: Regional heritability mapping identified three loci associated with the NVL phenotype on chromosomes 17, 22 and 23, distinct to the region on chromosome 13 associated with the VL phenotype. The region on chromosome 23 was at genome-wide significance and candidate genes overlapping the mapped window included members of the bovine leukocyte antigen class IIb region, a complex known for its role in immunity and disease resistance. Chromosome heritability analysis attributed variance to six and thirteen chromosomes for the VL and NVL phenotypes, respectively, and four of these chromosomes were found to explain a proportion of the phenotypic variation for both the VL and NVL phenotype. By grouping the M. bovis outcomes (VLs and NVLs) variance was attributed to nine chromosomes. When contrasting the two M. bovis infection outcomes (VLs vs NVLs) nine chromosomes were found to harbour heritable variation. Regardless of the case phenotype under investigation, chromosome heritability did not exceed 8% indicating that the genetic control of bTB resistance consists of variants of small to moderate effect situated across many chromosomes of the bovine genome. Conclusions: These findings suggest the host genetics of M. bovis infection outcomes is governed by distinct and overlapping genetic variants. Thus, variation in the pathology of M. bovis infected cattle may be partly genetically determined and indicative of different host responses or pathogen handling. There may be at least three distinct outcomes following M. bovis exposure in dairy cattle: resistance to infection, infection resulting in pathology or no detectable pathology ItemGenomic epidemiology of Mycobacterium bovis infection in sympatric badger and cattle populations in Northern Ireland(Microbiology Society, 2023-05-25) Akhmetova, Assel; Guerrero, Jimena; McAdam, Paul; Salvador, Liliana C. M.; Crispell, Joseph; Lavery, John; Presho, Eleanor; Kao, Rowland R.; Biek, Roman; Menzies, Fraser; Trimble, Nigel; Harwood, Roland; Pepler, P. Theo; Oravcova, Katarina; Graham, Jordon; Skuce, Robin; du Plessis, Louis; Thompson, Suzan; Wright, Lorraine; Byrne, Andrew W.; Allen, AdrianBovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a costly, epidemiologically complex, multi-host, endemic disease. Lack of understanding of transmission dynamics may undermine eradication efforts. Pathogen whole-genome sequencing improves epidemiological inferences, providing a means to determine the relative importance of inter- and intra-species host transmission for disease persistence. We sequenced an exceptional data set of 619 Mycobacterium bovis isolates from badgers and cattle in a 100 km2 bTB 'hotspot' in Northern Ireland. Historical molecular subtyping data permitted the targeting of an endemic pathogen lineage, whose long-term persistence provided a unique opportunity to study disease transmission dynamics in unparalleled detail. Additionally, to assess whether badger population genetic structure was associated with the spatial distribution of pathogen genetic diversity, we microsatellite genotyped hair samples from 769 badgers trapped in this area. Birth death models and TransPhylo analyses indicated that cattle were likely driving the local epidemic, with transmission from cattle to badgers being more common than badger to cattle. Furthermore, the presence of significant badger population genetic structure in the landscape was not associated with the spatial distribution of M. bovis genetic diversity, suggesting that badger-to-badger transmission is not playing a major role in transmission dynamics. Our data were consistent with badgers playing a smaller role in transmission of M. bovis infection in this study site, compared to cattle. We hypothesize, however, that this minor role may still be important for persistence. Comparison to other areas suggests that M. bovis transmission dynamics are likely to be context dependent, with the role of wildlife being difficult to generalize. ItemPhylodynamic analysis of an emergent Mycobacterium bovis outbreak in an area with no previously known wildlife infections(Wiley on behalf of British Ecological Society, 2021-11-01) Rossi, Gianluigi; Crispell, Joseph; Brough, Tanis; Lycett, Samantha J.; White, Piran C. L.; Allen, Adrian; Ellis, Richard J.; Gordon, Stephen V.; Harwood, Roland; Palkopoulou, Eleftheria; Presho, Eleanor; Skuce, Robin; Smith, Graham C.; Kao, Rowland R.1. Understanding how emergent pathogens successfully establish themselves and persist in previously unaffected populations is a crucial problem in disease ecology, with important implications for disease management. In multi-host pathogen systems this problem is particularly difficult, as the importance of each host species to transmission is often poorly characterised, and the disease epidemiology is complex. Opportunities to observe and analyse such emergent scenarios are few. 2. Here, we exploit a unique dataset combining densely collected data on the epidemiological and evolutionary characteristics of an outbreak of Mycobacterium bovis (the causative agent of bovine tuberculosis, bTB) in a population of cattle and badgers in an area considered low risk for bTB, with no previous record of either persistent infection in cattle, or of any infection in wildlife. We analyse the outbreak dynamics using a combination of mathematical modelling, Bayesian evolutionary analyses and machine learning. 3. Comparison to M. bovis whole-genome sequences from Northern Ireland confirmed this to be a pathogen single introduction from the latter region, with evolutionary analysis supporting an introduction directly into the local cattle population 6 years prior to its first discovery in badgers. 4. Once introduced, the evidence supports M. bovis epidemiological dynamics passing through two phases, the first dominated by cattle-to- cattle transmission before becoming established in the local badger population. 5. Synthesis and applications. The Mycobacterium bovis emergent outbreak that was the object of this study was of considerable concern because of the geographical distance from previously known high-risk areas. Initial decisions about the outbreak control were supported by the whole-genome sequencing data. The further analyses described here were used to estimate the time of introduction (and therefore the likely magnitude of any hidden outbreak) and the rates of cross-species transmission, and provided valuable confirmation that the extent and focus of the imposed controls were appropriate. Not only do these findings strengthen the call for genomic surveillance, but they also pave the path for future outbreaks control, providing insights for more rapid and decisive evidence-based decision-making. As the methods we used and developed are agnostic to the disease itself, they are also valuable for other slowly transmitting pathogens. ItemThe population and landscape genetics of the European badger (Meles meles) in Ireland(Wiley, 2018-09-12) Guerrero, Jimena; Byrne, Andrew W.; Lavery, John; Presho, Eleanor; Kelly, Gavin; Courcier, Emily A.; O’Keeffe, James; Fogarty, Ursula; O’Meara, Denise B.; Ensing, Dennis; McCormick, Carl; Biek, Roman; Skuce, Robin; Allen, AdrianThe population genetic structure of free-ranging species is expected to reflect landscape-level effects. Quantifying the role of these factors and their relative contribution often has important implications for wildlife management. The population genetics of the European badger (Meles meles) have received considerable attention, not least because the species acts as a potential wildlife reservoir for bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in Britain and Ireland. Herein, we detail the most comprehensive population and landscape genetic study of the badger in Ireland to date—comprised of 454 Irish badger samples, genotyped at 14 microsatellite loci. Bayesian and multivariate clustering methods demonstrated continuous clinal variation across the island, with potentially distinct differentiation observed in Northern Ireland. Landscape genetic analyses identified geographic distance and elevation as the primary drivers of genetic differentiation, in keeping with badgers exhibiting high levels of philopatry. Other factors hypothesized to affect gene flow, including earth worm habitat suitability, land cover type, and the River Shannon, had little to no detectable effect. By providing a more accurate picture of badger population structure and the factors effecting it, these data can guide current efforts to manage the species in Ireland and to better understand its role in bTB. ItemVariation in Mycobacterium bovis genetic richness suggests that inwards cattle movements are a more important source of infection in beef herds than in dairy herds(BMC, 2019-07-05) Milne, Margaret Georgina; Graham, Jordan; Allen, Adrian; McCormick, C.; Presho, Eleanor L.; Skuce, Robin A.; Byrne, A.W.Background We used genetic Multi-Locus VNTR Analysis (MLVA) data gathered from surveillance efforts to better understand the ongoing bovine tuberculosis (bTB) epidemic in Northern Irish cattle herds. We modelled the factors associated with Mycobacterium bovis MLVA genotype richness at three analytical scales; breakdown level, herd level, and patch level, and compared the results between dairy and non-dairy production types. Results In 83% of breakdowns and in 63% of herds, a single MLVA genotype was isolated. Five or more MLVA genotypes were found in less than 3 % of herds. Herd size and the total number of reactors were important explanatory variables, suggesting that increasing MLVA genotype richness was positively related to increases in the number of host animals. Despite their smaller relative size, however, the highest MLVA genotype richness values were observed in non-dairy herds. Increasing inwards cattle movements were important positive predictors of MLVA genotype richness, but mainly in non-dairy settings. Conclusions The principal finding is that low MLVA genotype richness indicates that small-scale epidemics, e.g. wildlife, contiguous farms, and within-herd recrudescence, are important routes of M. bovis infection in cattle herds. We hypothesise that these mechanisms will maintain, but may not explicitly increase, MLVA genotype richness. The presence of elevated MLVA richness is relatively rare and likely indicates beef fattening enterprises, which purchase cattle from over long distances. Cattle movements were furthermore an important predictor of MLVA genotype richness in non-dairy herds, but not in dairy herds; this may represent reduced cattle purchasing levels in dairy enterprises, compared to beef. These observations allude to the relative contribution of different routes of bTB infection between production types; we posit that infection associated with local factors may be more evident in dairy herds than beef herds, however in beef herds, inwards movements offer additional opportunities for introducing M. bovis into the herd.