Submitted to: Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: October 8, 2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Marek's disease (MD) is economically one of the most significant diseases in chickens. It is of interest that numerous estimates of heritability of resistance to MD are relatively high compared to the resistance to other diseases in chickens or other diseases in domestic livestock. Therefore, it is valid to define and understand the factors controlling genetic resistance, particularly when one could select and use this resistance in conjunction with other methods to control MD, e.g. vaccination and management. This review is generally limited to the period since 1967 when a DNA alpha herpes virus (Marek's disease virus or MDV) was shown to incite MD. The isolation of MDV permitted the differentiation of MD from other avian tumors, e.g., those caused by RNA retroviruses inducing lymphoid leukosis, or myelocytomatosis, or reticuloendotheliosis. Gene nomenclature adheres to recently established guidelines. Six areas influencing the genetics of MD resistance are reviewed citing exempliary references. These include heritability, selection, chicken genes, congenic chickens, genomics and transgenics.