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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


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Title: Mapping QTL Affecting Resistance to Marek's Disease in an F6 Advanced Intercross Population of Commercial Layer Chickens)

item Heifetz, Eliyahu
item Fulton, Janet
item O'sullivan, Neil
item Arthur, James
item Cheng, Hans
item Wang, Jing
item Soller, Morris
item Dekkers, Jack

Submitted to: Biomed Central (BMC) Genomics
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/14/2009
Publication Date: 3/5/2009
Citation: Heifetz, E.M., Fulton, J.E., O'Sullivan, N.P., Arthur, J.A., Cheng, H.H., Wang, J., Soller, M., Dekkers, J.C. 2009. Mapping QTL Affecting Resistance to Marek's Disease in an F6 Advanced Intercross Population of Commercial Layer Chickens. Biomed Central (BMC) Genomics. Available:

Interpretive Summary: Marek’s disease (MD) is an economically-important disease of chickens caused by a pathogenic virus known as the Marek’s disease virus (MDV). Currently, MD is controlled through the use of vaccines, however, since this does not prevent MDV replication and spread, more virulent strains have emerged. Genetic resistance offers an attractive method to augment vaccinal control. In this paper, regions in the chicken genome were identified that contained genes that conferred genetic resistance to MD in commercial egg-laying birds. In the future, these regions can be further refined to identify the causative genes, which in turn can be selected using genetic markers. This indirect selection will be faster, cheaper and more accurate than current methods to select chickens for superior disease resistance.

Technical Abstract: Marek’s disease (MD) is a T-cell lymphoma of chickens caused by the Marek’s disease virus (MDV), an oncogenic avian herpesvirus. MD is a major cause of economic loss to the poultry industry and the most serious and persistent infectious disease concern. A full-sib intercross population, consisting of five independent families was generated by crossing and repeated intercrossing of two partially inbred commercial White Leghorn layer lines known to differ in genetic resistance to MD. At the F6 generation, a total of 1615 chicks were produced (98 to 248 per family) and phenotyped for MD resistance measured as survival time in days after challenge with a very virulent plus (vv+) stain of MDV.

Last Modified: 8/24/2016
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