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DNA study suggests potential for virus-resistant poultry
"Our study is a good first step to understand the genetic factors influencing innate immunity to a range of viral infections in poultry" - Dr Jacqueline Smith, Roslin Institute.
Possible genetic variants linked to innate immunity of infections.

A study from the Roslin Institute has highlighted possible gene variants linked to innate immunity against damaging viral infections.

Using this information, researchers have suggested that poultry could be bred to resist viral infections, with findings pointing to possible genetic variations that determine a bird's response to infection. 

Analysing DNA from chickens discovered to be naturally more resilient or prone to bird flu, Marek's disease, infectious bursal disease and infectious bronchitis virus, researchers using computer analysis to search for variations in the genes linked to the production of immune proteins.

Comparing their findings with a standard reference genome of chickens, the researchers highlighted 60 genetic variations likely to influence resistance or susceptibility to the infections.

Joshua Mountford, lead author of the study, said: “Viral infections are a significant challenge for the poultry industry as well as impacting on animal welfare. 

“Determining genetic factors that enable birds to present a robust resistance to infection could deliver a host of benefits.”

Dr Jacqueline Smith, corresponding author of the paper, highlighted the potential of the findings: “Our study is a good first step to understand the genetic factors influencing innate immunity to a range of viral infections in poultry. 

“The variants we have discovered merit further investigation and could be valuable in breeding chickens resistant to disease.”

Published in Animal Genetics, the full paper is available to read here.


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Laura Muir wins gold at Commonwealth Games

News Story 1
 Veterinary surgeon and Olympic silver-medalist Laura Muir scooped the gold medal in the 1500m final Commonwealth Games on Sunday.

Winning Scotland's 12th title of the games, Muir finished in four minutes 2.75 seconds, collecting her second medal in 24 hours.

Dr Muir commented on her win: "I just thought my strength is in my kick and I just tried to trust it and hope nobody would catch me. I ran as hard as I could to the line.

"It is so nice to come here and not just get one medal but two and in such a competitive field. Those girls are fast. It means a lot." 

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News Shorts
Views sought on NOAH Compendium

Users of the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) Compendium app and website are being asked to share their views on how it can be improved.

In a new survey, users are asked about some suggested future developments, such as notifications for new and updated datasheets, sharing links to datasheets, and enhanced search functionality.

It comes after NOAH ceased publication of the NOAH Compendium book as part of its sustainability and environmental commitments. The website and the app will now be the main routes to access datasheets and view any changes.