Genomics to Enhance Poultry Health Using Biodiversity
Susan J. Lamont1, George Aning2, Jack C. M. Dekkers1, Rodrigo Gallardo3, Boniface Kayang2, Terra Kelly3, Peter Msoffe4, Amandus P. Muhairwa5, Augustine Naazie2, Huaijun Zhou3
1Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA, 2University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana, 3University of California-Davis, California, USA, 4University of Dodoma, Dodoma, Tanzania, 5Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania
Newcastle disease virus (NDV) causes a major constraint to efficient production of healthy poultry in developing countries and requires continuing costs to control in developed countries. Feasibility of vaccination is limited in many low-resource areas of the world. Thus, our project seeks to identify the genetic basis of response to NDV in chickens. With this information, the natural resistance characteristics of locally adapted populations can be enhanced by genetic selection. To achieve this translational goal, we studied three distinct types of chickens: inbred, commercial and African ecotypes. Two highly inbred research lines with differential response to NDV served as a discovery platform using RNA sequencing to identify genes and pathways that respond to NDV infection. A commercial layer line with global distribution was used to identify genomic regions and genes associated with response to NDV by using both a high-density (600K) SNP panel and candidate gene typing. Chickens of six ecotypes, three each from Ghana and Tanzania, were genotyped with the 600K SNP panel to determine genome-wide associations with response to NDV vaccination and with virulent NDV challenge. Results from these nine biodiverse populations were used to develop a low-density SNP panel for future validation and use in improving NDV response in the African ecotypes by genomic selection. Improving natural resistance to NDV will contribute to healthier poultry and better global security of a major protein source for the human diet and, in developing countries, will aid empowerment of women by increasing their financial income. This study was funded by the USAID Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Genomics to Improve Poultry.