<OL> <LI> Create and share data and technology to enhance the development and application of genomics and systems biology in poultry. <LI>Facilitate the development and sharing of animal populations and the collection and analysis of new, unique and interesting phenotypes including those produced by gene transfer. <LI>Elucidate genetic mechanisms that underlie economic traits and develop new methods to apply that knowledge to poultry breeding practices.
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Avian viral diseases, such as avian influenza, Newcastle disease, pneumovirus, Marek's disease, or laryngotracheitis cause economic losses in poultry industries by decreasing productivity. The improved diagnosis and control of viral diseases in the US including Arkansas, which is a nationally top ranking state for poultry production, are of the utmost importance to maintain safe production of poultry free of major diseases. In addition to the production of a genetically modified, attenuated viral vaccine, the characterization and regulation of a critical mechanism in host-virus interactions can be a highly efficient approach to protect poultry from infectious viral pathogens. Our research is also aimed at understanding the stress response of poultry and the response of birds to photoperiod in order to advance gonadal development, increase sperm mobility and fertility to improve reproductive fitness of chickens raised for human consumption. <P>
APPROACH: In situ hybridization histochemistry will be developed to assess gene expression in tissue sections of brain and pituitary gland. Immunohistochemistry is utilized to demonstrate the location of protein or peptide products in specific tissue sections and/or cells. Microarray analysis is used for the screening/profiling of differentially expressed genes responding to virus infections. Candidate regulatory factors/mechanisms will be modulated by either ectopic expression or RNA interference technologies. Tissue culture based-attenuated vaccine for poultry virus will be produced by genetic modifications, which virulent genes are deleted in the virus genome.