Building on a recently completed Animal Research Club project, researchers at RVC and the Roslin Institute have been awarded ~£1 million to continue work focused on breeding chickens that are intrinsically resistant or resilient in the face of infectious disease.
The project, led at RVC by Prof Damer Blake working with Prof Fiona Tomley and Dr Androniki Psifidi, aims to reduce the dependence upon antibiotics and other treatments in poultry production. Enhanced resistance or resilience can also improve chicken welfare in the face of environmental pathogen challenge.
The work will explore the genetic basis of resistance/susceptibility to infection by Eimeria species parasites, a major cause of loss and suffering in both broiler and layer poultry production. Particular emphasis will be placed on the immunoregulatory molecule interleukin-10 (IL-10), investigating association with chicken growth and productivity in the face of parasite challenge, as well as its impact on the outcome of co-infection with Campylobacter jejuni.