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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Endemic Poultry Viral Diseases Research » Research » Research Project #432116

Research Project: Intervention Strategies to Prevent and Control Enteric Diseases of Poultry

Location: Endemic Poultry Viral Diseases Research

Project Number: 6040-32000-073-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Jan 3, 2017
End Date: Jan 2, 2022

1. Characterize the intestinal virome associated with poultry enteric diseases, including assessing the intestinal microbiome of poultry for the presence of novel enteric pathogens, and developing molecular tools to study the epidemiology, ecology, and evolution of enteric pathogens. 2. Investigate the role of the poultry gut microbiome in promoting overall health and performance gains, including defining the interactions between the gut microbiome and the host immune system that contribute to enteric diseases and performance problems and developing the microbiome as a poultry health phenotype. 3. Develop vaccine platforms that will lead to highly efficacious vaccines that have been rationally designed to control enteric diseases of poultry, including developing vaccines targeting specific enteric pathogens early during the poultry production cycle.

Viral infections of the avian gastrointestinal tract negatively impact poultry production; however, determining the complex etiologies of the viral enteric diseases in poultry has been difficult. Research in our Unit over the past five+ years has focused in part on the characterization of the poultry gut virus community and initial characterizations of novel viruses. The research proposed in Objective 1 will continue and expand upon this line of investigation. As a logical extension of our viral metagenomic work, we have further performed comparative metagenomic analyses of healthy and enteric disease-affected poultry flocks, leading to descriptions of potential disease-associated viruses such as the enteric picornaviruses. Objective 2 again continues and expands upon these investigations, proposing extensive flock comparisons using powerful next-generation sequencing techniques, pathogenesis work with viruses, and defining the immune response of poultry suffering from enteric maladies. Finally, the discovery of disease-associated genes and infectious agents in Objective 2 will directly inform the design of targeted interventions in Objective 3, which will use our established, efficacious recombinant vectored vaccine platforms to produce vaccines targeting enteric viruses early during the poultry production cycle.