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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Avian Disease and Oncology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #303008

Title: Allele-Specific Expression Screening Demonstrates that Variation in Genetic Resistance to Marek’s Disease in Chicken is Mainly Controlled at the Transcriptional Level

item Cheng, Hans
item PERUMBAKKAM, SUDEEP - Michigan State University
item Black Pyrkosz, Alexis
item Dunn, John
item MUIR, WILLIAM - Michigan State University

Submitted to: World Congress of Genetics Applied in Livestock Production
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/18/2014
Publication Date: 8/17/2014
Citation: Cheng, H.H., Perumbakkam, S., Black Pyrkosz, A.A., Dunn, J.R., Muir, W.M. 2014. Mapping and genotypic analysis of NK-lysin gene in chicken. Proceedings of World Congress of Genetics Applied in Livestock Production. Vancouver, BC Canada, August 17, 2014.

Interpretive Summary: Enhancing genetic resistance to Marek’s disease in chicken would provide economic benefit to the poultry industry and consumers. To identify genetic markers that could be used in DNA-based selection, sequence variants were identified that are associated with variation in gene expression, which were further shown to account for genetic variation in disease incidence. This result demonstrates that genetic resistance is controlled by variation in gene expression and not by differences in protein coding content. The strategy has wide implications on other complex traits especially resistance to other infectious diseases, and offers a viable method to improve animal health.

Technical Abstract: Marek’s disease (MD) is a T cell lymphoma disease of chickens induced by the Marek’s disease virus (MDV). Selecting for increased genetic resistance to MD is a control strategy that can augment MD vaccinal protection. To identify genetic markers and gain a better biological understanding, RNA sequencing of spleens obtained from uninfected and MDV-infected experimental layers was conducted. Analysis for allele-specific expression (ASE) in response to viral infection revealed 4,528 SNPs in 3,718 genes in experimental layers, and these ASE SNPs account for ~83% of the genetic variance in an MD resource population and are enriched for genes in the TLR and JAK/STAT signaling pathways. This study supports the important role of transcriptional regulation on genetic resistance to MD. Furthermore, the same strategy can be used in genomic selection to improve MD genetic resistance and other infectious diseases in commercial flocks.