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New Centre for poultry immunogenomics

by 5m Editor
17 March 2005, at 12:00am

AUSTRALIA - A million-dollar joint research facility dedicated to developing new medicines and vaccines to fight poultry diseases has been established at CSIRO Livestock Industries' Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong, Victoria.

New Centre for poultry immunogenomics - AUSTRALIA - A million-dollar joint research facility dedicated to developing new medicines and vaccines to fight poultry diseases has been established at CSIRO Livestock Industries' Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong, Victoria.

Funded by the Australian Poultry Cooperative Research Centre - with CSIRO support in instrumentation and research expertise - the Australian Centre for Poultry Immunogenomics will facilitate research efforts into improving bird productivity and health, product quality and animal welfare.

"Over the last few decades the two main mechanisms used to control poultry disease have been vaccines and antibiotics," says CSIRO's Dr John Lowenthal. "However, while vaccines have generally provided effective protection, there are now concerns about their ability to protect against newly emerging hyper-virulent pathogens.

"Vaccines often require the use of an adjuvant - a substance that enhances the vaccine's effectiveness - but there are no suitable, cost-effective adjuvants currently available for use in the broiler and egg industries."

There has also been a reduction in the use of in-feed antibiotics, which may see an increase in the emergence of certain bacterial pathogens.

"This is where the Centre for Immunogenomics has a key role to play," Dr Lowenthal says.

"In 2004, the chicken became the first livestock species to have its full genome sequenced and the availability of this detailed genomic information has revolutionised the design, scope and implementation of biological studies."

By using microarray technology, the level of expression of tens of thousands of genes can be simultaneously investigated during infection to determine their identity and function.

"The combination of genomic, immunological and RNA interference technologies will be used to modulate the expression of these key genes, thereby enhancing the animal's ability to combat disease," Dr Lowenthal says.

The research team is confident the immunogenomics approach will lead to the discovery of new alternatives to antibiotics, such as antimicrobial peptides, and help develop new vaccine adjuvants and treatments.

It is anticipated the Centre's collaborative research will facilitate the development and commercialisation of the next generation of poultry health products, as well as providing insights into maximising disease resistance for a variety of different livestock species.

Source: CSIRO Australia - 17th March 2005
© Copyright CSIRO Australia

5m Editor