Can Natural Disease Resistance Be Bred Into Birds?

Imagine breeding birds in such a way that you make them resistant to diseases. With antibiotic-free being such a hot topic these days, that would be a welcome option. Mortality rates would drop significantly and producers would only have to worry about getting the birds to the right size. Well, according to an article in Poultry Health Today, that may become a reality soon.

Researchers at Wageningen University in the Netherlands discovered that selecting animals that have higher levels of antibodies (naturally occurring) allows birds to block and prevent the spread of pathogens. A study was recently published in Vaccine. Researchers tested previous studies that suggested natural antibodies are inherited, which means they can be altered by breeding.

They used hens from two generations. The birds from the second generation were vaccinated with one of three different vaccines. Each vaccine was used to trigger different immune responses: one against bacteria, another against viruses, and the third specific for the scientists’ selection on natural antibodies.

Tom Berghof, the lead researcher, compared those with low-level antibodies to those with higher antibody levels against bacterial responses. He said the study provides a “hopeful perspective” to breed based on antibody levels for general disease resistance, especially against bacteria. Berghof also says researchers have to find out more about selection for natural antibodies, and so their team will continue to do so on two more generations. You can read the full article here.

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Trish Valenzuela, CPC/ PRC • Poultry Recruiter

Poultry Recruiter

Trish Valenzuela specializes in recruiting for poultry feed additive companies. She has filled positions in technical support, sales, and sales management across the USA.

Trish joined Continental Search in July 2015, and through hard study, she passed two certification programs. She is now a Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC) and a Professional Recruiting Consultant (PRC).

Visit her LinkedIn profile to connect with her and stay updated with current poultry trends. You can reach her at (302) 248-8242, through LinkedIn, or at trish@consearch.com.

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