Partnering with Hy-Line International to Improve Smallholder Poultry Production in Africa
In cooperation with Hy-Line International scientists, the Genomics to Improve Poultry Innovation Lab is working to identify genes and/or genetic markers associated with resistance to Newcastle disease (ND) and heat stress in the Hy-Line Brown line, which is their commercial layer line is widely distributed in most throughout north and west Africa. By partnering with Hy-Line International, a global leader in poultry layer breeding and genetics, to provide more than 1200 pedigreed Hy-Line Brown layers and genotype 13 genes associated with immune response and heat stress, the program is advancing the shared goal of applying genomics to improve poultry health and production. Preliminary genotype data in combination with measurements of the chickens’ physiologic and immune responses following challenge with ND virus or combination of ND virus and heat stress provide evidence for a diverse difference in immune responses across chicken lines and genetic control of these differences. These findings are promising in that they indicate a strong possibility for using genetic selection to produce chickens with enhanced resistance to ND and heat stress. In order to speed up the application of genomic selection in Africa poultry, Dr Neil O’Sullivan, Director of Research and Development for Hy-Line International, is invited to serve on the Research Advisory Board of the GIP program.