Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Newly discovered genetic mechanism in poultry can provide more insights to complex diseases

14.03.2006
Scientists from Uppsala University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and the US have identified a genetic mechanism that regulates growth in chickens.

The study is based on two chicken selection lines, where one is bred for high growth and the other one for low. The researchers show that a network of four interacting genes explains half of the difference in body weight between the lines. The results may be of great significance for genetic studies of complex diseases such as obesity and diabetes. The study is being published ahead of print on the home page of Nature Genetics on March 12.

Despite many years of intensive research, we still know little about the genetics behind complex diseases like diabetes, obesity, and allergies. Three research groups from Uppsala and the US now describe a new genetic mechanism that sheds new light on the genetic background to complex disorders and other traits that are affected by both genes and environment.

The scientists have made use of a unique poultry population to provide a new answer to a question that has haunted researchers since the early 20th century: what are the genetic mechanisms that allow breeders to create new populations where every individual is more extreme than the most extreme individual in the population that they started breeding from?

Since 1957 Paul Siegel, at Virginia Tech in the US, has studied the biological effects of selection for extreme body weight in chickens. Starting from a homogeneous poultry population, he has bred two lines of chickens, one for high body weight and one for low body weight. In the high line, the heaviest animals were chosen to be the parents of the next generation, and in the low line the lightest individuals were chosen. Today the high line chickens weigh eight times as much as the low line chickens at eight weeks of age (see picture).

- This is one of the greatest responses to selection ever recorded in vertebrates and is considerably greater than disrupting the function of any of the individual genes that are known to have the largest impact on growth, says Leif Andersson, who initiated the genetic studies of poultry lines in collaboration with Paul Siegel.

The scientists have now managed to find a network of four coordinated genes that explains half of the difference between these two poultry lines.

- We have now analysed the data using a new method that takes into consideration how genes interact. Using this method we can explain considerably more of the differences between the lines than by using traditional methods. The major effects on growth are found only in those individuals who have certain specific combinations of gene variants for these four genes, says Örjan Carlborg, coordinator of the study.

This is the first time experimental data have successfully provided a mechanistic explanation for how interaction between genes can affect how populations are altered by natural or artificial selection.

- The results are not surprising, since it has long been suspected that interaction is important in the regulation of most biological traits, but this type of mechanism was not expected to play such a dominant role, says Örjan Carlborg.

The two poultry lines differ also in regard to other features than growth, such as appetite, obesity, and immune response. The high-line chickens are compulsive eaters, whereas the low-line chickens are anorectic; the high-line chickens are fat while the low-line chickens are slender; and the high line also has a weaker immune response than the low line.

- This is why we expect that this animal model will be extremely interesting for finding out whether the mechanism we have discovered might also underlie the regulation of the medically interesting metabolic and immmunological traits, including regulation of appetite, obesity, and immune response. This can provide new knowledge that may ultimately lead to improved drugs for many of our complex diseases, says Örjan Carlborg.

The findings are being published on the Nature Genetics home page on March 12. The authors are Örjan Carlborg, Lina Jacobsson, Per Åhgren, Paul Siegel, and Leif Andersson.

Linda Nohrstedt | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nature.com/ng/index.html
http://www.uu.se

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers
26.06.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Fighting a destructive crop disease with mathematics
21.06.2017 | University of Cambridge

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>