One-hundred and three United States Suffolk sheep were inoculated orally with a scrapie agent preparation and monitored for clinical disease and histopathological lesions characteristic of scrapie. A retrospective study of the polymorphisms at codon 171 of the prion protein (PrP) gene was performed on these sheep. All 63 sheep that developed scrapie during the observation period were homozygous for the glutamine 171 (171-QQ) PrP allele. Twelve 171-QQ sheep failed to develop disease. All 5 sheep homozygous for arginine(171-RR) and all 23 heterozygous (171-QR) sheep remained free of scrapie.