Event Title First Global Alliance for Research on Avian Diseases (GARAD) Conference
Session Title Unknown
Event Date & Time On Mon, 29 Jun 2015 at 12:20:00 - 12:40:00
Venue Edmond J. Safra Lecture Theatre
Abstract Title Genetic modification to study and control disease in poultry
Authors Helen Sang
Affiliations The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, UK
Abstract Content

Genetic modification technologies for manipulation of the chicken genome are developing rapidly. Transgene addition using lentiviral or transposon vectors is efficient and the development of culture conditions to support long-term growth and proliferation of chicken primordial germ cells (PGCs), the precursors of the gametes, provides a new cell-based system for genetic modification of the chicken. PGCs can be genetically modified in vitro, the cells with the planned genetic change selected and introduced into chick embryos where they migrate to the gonads and can produce sperm or oocytes in the birds when they reach sexual maturity. Genome editing using artificial site-specific nucleases is now possible in PGCs and will soon be an efficient way to introduce genetic changes. These technologies provide novel tools for understanding the infection and immunity in the chicken at a basic level. There are many potential applications of these technologies in poultry breeding that could complement the highly efficient genomic selection strategies that are being implemented by breeding companies. A major challenge in animal breeding is identifying genetic disease resistance. Genetic modification provides the opportunity to introduce completely novel genes that confer resistance to specific pathogens, based on our understanding of the biology of each pathogen/host. We are developing this approach to resistance to avian influenza by developing and testing novel transgenes to block flu virus replication, assessing them in vitro and then generating transgenic chickens carrying the potentially effective transgenes. The application of transgenic technologies in poultry must be developed in parallel with considering how they will be implemented in breeding programmes, how they will be assessed by regulators and by engaging with societal issues.