Submitted to: World Veterinary Poultry Association Congress Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 8, 2004
Publication Date: June 8, 2004
Citation: Cheng, H.H., Niikura, M., Hunt, H.D. 2004. Identifying Marek's disease resistance gene and pathways through integrative genomic approaches. World Veterinary Poultry Association Congress Proceedings, June 8-13, 2004, Istanbul, Turkey. 2004 CD ROM. Technical Abstract: Poultry is an important food source and the primary meat consumed in the U.S. As the poultry industry continues to consolidate into large national and multinational operations, animal health and disease control grow in importance. Marek¹s disease (MD) is a lymphoproliferative disease caused by a herpesvirus, the Marek¹s disease virus (MDV). While vaccines can limit MD incidence, more virulent MDV strains continue to emerge forcing the development of new and more effective vaccines. Thus, MD is the most serious chronic concern and one of the greatest challenges to the poultry industry. One attractive solution to augment vaccinal control is to increase the genetic resistance to MD in elite chicken lines. Ideally, selection for enhanced MD resistance would be based on genetic markers for the disease resistance genes or ones tightly linked to them. With this goal in mind, we have been implementing various genomic approaches to identify genes, proteins, and biological pathways that are associated with resistance to MD. The rationale for using more than one approach is that the strengths of each system can be combined. Another justification is that given that large amount of data produced by genomics, each method provides an additional screen to limit the number of targets to verify and characterize. Briefly, genome-wide QTL scans describe the genomic regions of interest. Unfortunately, the level of resolution is rather large, which forces non-genetic approaches to clone the causative gene(s). Functional screens like DNA microarrays and MDV-chicken protein-protein interaction assays provide information on important genes, proteins and pathways. More importantly, when these functional screens are combined with QTL, positional candidate genes can be identified and further evaluated. The identification of several MD resistance genes and immunological responses that confer MD resistance validate this approach.