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New BBSRC Grant Awarded for Study on Chickens

15 October 2013

UK - Dr Damer Blake has been awarded £340,000 for the following study, 'Understanding resistance and differential vaccine responses to Eimeria in the chicken: novel biomarkers and genetic control'. Eimeria parasites cause coccidiosis in poultry and their control is very costly to the industry.

Dr Blake explained what the project will involve: "Every chicken produced in the world each year is likely to be exposed to Eimeria (most notably a parasite that causes poultry disease). The global cost of these parasites is estimated to exceed £2 billion every year.

"Control relies on chemotherapy and to a lesser extent vaccination, although drug resistance, production capacity and cost, prove limiting. Future control strategies will additionally focus on host genetics to optimise inherent resistance as well as response to vaccination and chemotherapy.

"In this collaborative project, we will work with Professor Pete Kaiser and colleagues from the Roslin Research Institute to map sequences within the chicken genome that associate with innate resistance or susceptibility to eimerian infection, offering opportunities to improve resistance of poultry to infectious disease.

"We will also investigate the genetic basis of parasite strain-specific immune responses with relevance to future vaccine development. Combined, these studies could improve the welfare of farmed poultry and contribute to solutions for the global food security challenge to feed nine billion people by 2050."

Further Reading

Find out more information on coccidiosis by clicking here.

ThePoultrySite News Desk

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