Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Using Comparative Genomics To Manage Virulent Chicken Disease

Date:
January 5, 2007
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
The genetic code for a virulent strain of Marek's disease virus was cracked a few years ago. Now, to determine how best to cripple it and other infectious strains, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are working to decipher the genomes of several nonvirulent Marek's disease (MDV) vaccine strains.

The scientists' strategy for developing better vaccines for Marek's disease is to incorporate modified versions of yet-to-be identified genes important to the virus' ability to cause disease.
Credit: Photo by Stephen Ausmus

The genetic code for a virulent strain of Marek's disease virus was cracked a few years ago. Now, to determine how best to cripple it and other infectious strains, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are working to decipher the genomes of several nonvirulent Marek's disease (MDV) vaccine strains.

Microbiologists Stephen Spatz at the ARS Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory in Athens, Ga., and Robert Silva at the ARS Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory in East Lansing, Mich., have teamed up to compare nonvirulent MDV strains used in vaccines.

Marek's disease is the first cancer-causing virus for which a tumor-preventing vaccine was developed. In the United States, most commercial chickens are vaccinated against Marek's disease virus type 1 (MDV1) while inside the egg. In Europe, chicks are vaccinated when they are one day old. While these very successful vaccination programs, begun in the 1960s, have saved the industry billions of dollars, the MDV problem still persists.

That's because selective pressures imposed on the virus in vaccinated birds cause new variants to evolve that could pose a threat to the poultry industry. Because the virus is constantly evolving, new vaccines have to be developed to keep them in check.

To investigate the differences between the variants, Spatz and Silva initiated a comparative genomics research program. It involves determining the DNA sequences of various strains of MDV. Some of these are nonvirulent ones used as commercial vaccines, while others cause severe disease in chickens. By examining the differences between these strains at the DNA level, the two researchers hope to identify the genes involved in virulence--that is, the virus' ability to cause disease.

Once these genes have been identified, improved vaccines containing modifications in the virulence genes can be engineered and used to protect chickens against current disease-causing MDV strains, as well as against future strains.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's principal scientific research agency.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Using Comparative Genomics To Manage Virulent Chicken Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 January 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070102133604.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2007, January 5). Using Comparative Genomics To Manage Virulent Chicken Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070102133604.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Using Comparative Genomics To Manage Virulent Chicken Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070102133604.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A U.S. doctor has tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, as the worst-ever outbreak continues to grow. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The New York Times has officially endorsed the legalization of marijuana, but why now, and to what end? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins