Welcome to the Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory News & Events Webpage!
To read USDA Agriculture Research Service News and Events, click here.
The News and Events of Avian Disease and Oncology are posted below on a timely manner as they occur.
· On August 17, 2012, ADOL Received USDA-ARS Approval to Continue Research on Chicken Genomics and Genetic Resistance to Disease for the Next Five Years. The USDA-ARS Office of Scientific Quality Review (OSQR) certified the ADOL’s New project on Genomics and Genetic Resistance to Disease entitled “Employing Genomics, Epigenetics, and Immunogenetics to Control Diseases Induced by Avian Tumor Viruses.” The new project is for five years (October 2012 to September 2017) and encompasses 3 objectives: 1) enhance the chicken genetic map and integration with the genome sequence specifically chromosomes 16, 25, 29-38, and W to enhance genetic/genomic opportunity for control of MD; 2) identify and characterize chicken genes and pathways that confer resistance to MD or vaccinal response including determination of the relationship between gut microbes and MHC haplotype of the chicken or immune response to MDV infection; and 3) Develop a laboratory model for MDV evolution to higher virulence and develop effective industry tools for the control of Marek’s disease.
· New and Improved Experimental Marek’s disease Vaccine Proved Efficacious in Commercial Chickens. Developing new and improved vaccines to combat Marek’s disease has been a long-term goal of the laboratory. Recently, a recombinant vaccine has shown great promise. This vaccine was produced by cloning the entire Marek’s disease virus genome then deleting the gene known as Meq, which is necessary for the virus to cause disease. In both laboratory and field trials, this vaccine called ∆Meq has been shown to be as effective, if not more so, than Rispens, the best traditional MD vaccine on the market. The only downside to the ∆Meq experimental vaccine has been the occurrence of bursal and thymus atrophy in vaccinated chickens that lack maternal antibodies to MD. Most recently, scientists at ADOL led by Dr. Lucy Lee, who retired in May 2011, developed a method to rid this ∆Meq MD vaccine from immunosuppression; this new and improved vaccine proved efficacious in commercial chickens under field conditions. This development will assist vaccine manufacturers to proceed with their plans for evaluating and commercializing the vaccine. Please contact Dr. Fadly at ALY.FADLY@ARS.USDA.GOV if you have any question about the new and improved ∆Meq MD vaccine candidate.
Bits and Pieces of Recent Research:
· Spontaneous Tumors
Recently, ADOL scientists have demonstrated the occurrence of avian leukosis virus (ALV)-like tumors in White Leghorn Chickens of ADOL line alv6 that is resistant to subgroups A and E ALV and maintained under specific pathogen-free (SPF) conditions. Chickens from line alv6 were vaccinated at hatch with a Marek s disease (MD) vaccine containing serotypes 1, 2 and 3 MD viruses, and were maintained under SPF conditions from the day of hatch until 56 weeks of age. Lymphoid leukosis (LL) tumors were detected in several chickens that died after 20 weeks of age. Chickens tested negative for all subgroups of exogenous ALV and for antibodies against ALV of subgroup of A, B and J. Also, tumor tissues tested negative by PCR for the presence of infectious ALV of subgroups A, E, and J. Results suggest the development of spontaneous LL in SPF white leghorn chickens that are resistant to subgroup A and E ALV. The role of using MD vaccines containing serotype 2 viruses as well as other factors in the development of these tumors is being evaluated. Please contact Dr. Aly Fadly at ALY.FADLY@ARS.USDA.GOV if you have any questions regarding spontaneous ALV-like tumors
· Pathotyping of Recent Marek’s disease Virus Isolates
Pathotyping of MDV isolates from recent field cases in Pennsylvania layer flocks as well as an isolate from a layer flock in Iowa revealed that although most isolates pathotyped as vv+MDV strains, none were unusually virulent compared to other strains isolated in recent years. Pathotyping is critical to our understanding and response to virulence shifts in the field and we continue to invite submission of samples from flocks experiencing unusually high MD or other tumor incidence.
Please contact Dr. John Dunn at JOHN.DUNN@ARS.USDA.GOV> if you have any question about pathotyping of field isolates of MDV.
· A Laboratory Model of studying Marek’s disease virus virulence
Dr. Henry Hunt has developed a laboratory model for selecting Marek’s disease viruses that are more virulent. This method, which mimics what occurs in the field, should provide key insights on what changes occur in the viral genome and ways to prevent this from happening in the future. For more information, please contact Dr. Henry Hunt <HENRY.HUNT@ARS.USDA.GOV>
Visiting Scientists and Scholars:
· Dr. Weisheng Cao, Associate Professor, S. China Agricultural U., completed a 1-year sabbatical in Dr. Fadly’s lab.
· Dr. Qingmei Xie, Associate Professor and Vice Dean of Animal Science, S. China Agricultural U. completed a 1-year sabbatical in Dr. Zhang’s lab.
· Dr. Muhammet Kaya, Assistant Professor, Ankara U., Turkey, completed a 9-month sabbatical in Dr. Cheng’s lab.
· Dr. Santosh Haunshi, Scientist, ICAR, India, completed a 1-year sabbatical in Dr. Cheng’s lab.
· Dr. Shu-hong Sun, Associate Professor, Shandong Agricultural University is conducting a 1-year sabbatical in Dr. Fadly’s laboratory working on immunopathogenesis of avian retroviruses.
Meeting and Conferences:
· Dr. Fadly presented an invited lecture titled “An Overview of Tumorous Diseases of Turkeys” at the 9th International Symposium on Turkey Diseases held in Berlin, Germany June 21-23, 2012.
· Drs. Cheng, Dunn, Fadly, Hunt and Zhang participated and presented papers ta the 9th International Symposium on Marek’s disease and Avian Herpesviruses held in Berlin, Germany, June 24-28, 2012.
· Dr. Mohammad Heidari will host the next NE1034 meeting in East Lansing on October 2012. NE1034 is a USDA NIFA regional project that strives to understand the genetic basis for disease resistance and immunity, which will lead to more effective prevention and treatment procedures.
· ADOL and Michigan State University will organize the 10th International Symposium on Marek’s Disease and other Avian Herpesviruses to be held in July 2014 in East Lansing, Michigan.
Awards and Recognition:
· Congratulations to Dr. Lucy Lee who recently retired from her position at ADOL for being awarded “Life Achievement Award” for her significant contribution to the understanding of molecular structure and function of Marek’s disease virus genes. The Award was sponsored by and given at the 9th International Symposium on Marek’s disease and Avian Herpesviruses held June 24-28, 2012 in Berlin, Germany.
· Congratulations to Dr. Hans Cheng who received the 2012 Evonik Degussa Award for Achievement in Poultry Science. This prestigious award is given by the Poultry Science Association to distinctive contributions to poultry science advancement covering a period of not more than 7 years preceding the annual award.
More information about ADOL:
· Research Projects and ADOL Scientists. Two research projects are conducted at ADOL. The Tumor Virus project includes Aly Fadly (pathologist and research leader), Mohammad Heidari (immunologist), and John Dunn (pathologist). The Genomics and Immunogenetics project includes Hans Cheng (geneticist and lead scientist), Huanmin Zhang (geneticists) and Henry Hunt (immunologist).
· ADOL Fertile Eggs and Chicks. ADOL Specific Pathogen-Free (SPF) fertile eggs and day-old chicks are unique resources and are available for researchers at other Government and non-Government laboratories. Please note the following information if you are interested in ordering ADOL SPF fertile eggs or day-old chicks.
1. SPF hatching eggs and chicks from various B-congenic, recombinant and other MHC defined ADOL pure lines are produced from January through June each year.
2. Fertile eggs are priced at $5.00 each, and day-old chicks are priced at $10.00, each; plus charges for handling, overnight shipping, and any other charges required by Local/State/, or Foreign Country regulations.
3. These charges for fertile eggs and newly hatched chicks are assessed to help defray part of the production costs.
4. USDA-ARS guidelines require that a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) between ARS and the non-Government laboratory receiving fertile eggs or day-old chicks to be signed and in place before shipping of the materials.
5. Due to limited numbers of the eggs and chicks produced every year, it is highly recommended to call Farm Manager (see below), and check the availability; as absolute priority for supplying fertile eggs and chicks is given to ADOL in-house research projects.
Farm Manger: Raj Kulkarni
E-mail - Raj.Kulkarni@ars.usda.gov
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