• chronic wasting disease;
  • genetic risk factor;
  • linkage disequilibrium;
  • microsatellite markers;
  • mule deer;
  • NF1 ;
  • PRNP ;
  • white-tailed deer


Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal transmissible spongiform encephalopathy affecting North American cervids. We assessed the feasibility of association mapping CWD genetic risk factors in wild white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) using a panel of bovine microsatellite markers from three homologous deer linkage groups predicted to contain candidate genes. These markers had a low cross-species amplification rate (27.9%) and showed weak linkage disequilibrium (<1 cM). Markers near the prion protein and the neurofibromin 1 (NF1) genes were suggestively associated with CWD status in white-tailed deer (= 0.006) and mule deer (= 0.02), respectively. This is the first time an association between the NF1 region and CWD has been reported.