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Aviagen Mapping the Future of Poultry Breeding

by 5m Editor
18 November 2005, at 12:00a.m.

UK - Aviagen, the world's leading poultry breeding company, is once again embracing innovative technologies to improve the way in which they select their breeding stock.

Aviagen
Aviagen take leading role in harnessing genomics

Following the publication of the entire chicken genome in December 2004 the company is launching a major new initiative to develop genomics technologies which will identify specific genetic markers for naturally occurring traits. Using this new technology alongside the existing selection process, Aviagen will be able to provide additional information to its geneticists to identify superior stock in the breeding programme. This new technology continues to use naturally occurring variation seen in our stock and does not involve any form of genetic modification.

By screening pedigree lines for differences in genetic make-up Aviagen can identify single base differences, or SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms), which will provide an insight into what makes one chicken different from another. For instance, why can one bird resist certain diseases better than another or what makes one bird, given the same feed and management, grow better and stronger than another? This new technology will prove particularly useful in identifying markers associated with health, welfare, robustness and disease resistance, allowing Aviagen to select the best individuals from which to breed more accurately and effectively.

Aviagen is committing substantial resources to develop and apply genomics techniques in their breeding program in addition to the ongoing investment in traditional selection techniques. Their long and successful history of developing and implementing new technologies makes them exceptionally qualified to lead the way for future developments in this area. The company is uniquely positioned to build on the new breakthroughs in genomics research as it already has in place many of the foundation resources required, such as a good pedigree population structure, high quality performance data, a DNA bank of pedigree bird samples, and an excellent team of R&D specialists in molecular and quantitative genetics.

To support the project, Aviagen has assembled an Advisory Group of leaders in the field of genomics to assist in directing the initiative to maximize the delivery and scale of the benefits to customers. The leading technology provider in human genomics will provide genotyping using a specially designed panel of over 6,000 SNPs for a large number of Aviagen chicken DNA samples.

These are exciting times in the poultry industry and Aviagen continues to lead the way with the development and advancement of innovative selection technologies. This genomics Initiative will capitalize on new research and build upon existing techniques without changing or compromising the basis on which selection decisions are made. Aviagen remain committed to maintaining a balanced breeding programme and to providing customers with the best breeding stock available.

Source: Aviagen - 16th November 2005

5m Editor