Transcriptome analysis and functional characterization of genes associated with feed efficiency and immune function in poultry

Carl E Darris, Tennessee State University


As the world population continues to increase there is continual pressure placed on agriculture researchers to increase the yield of current food crops and livestock, while identifying new and alternative food sources. Meeting this challenge is dependent upon the identification and selection for optimal production traits Next-generation sequencing technology has made it possible to gain tremendous amounts of genomics information. The application of this genetic information has aided in the improvement of animal performance, food production and safety. The guinea fowl (GF) has received increased attention as an alternative poultry product (Nahashon, 2005). However, there is a relative dearth of scientific information available to aid in these efforts. ^ In order to address these concerns de novo transcriptome assembly using tissues from the guinea fowl pancreas and bursa was performed and resulted in a total of 41,601,122 reads. These reads were assembled into 45,921 pancreas contigs and 42,730 bursa contigs, yielding a total of 30,019 unique contigs. Annotation of the contigs identified 9,000 novel transcripts. A contig coding for insulin was selected from the pool of novel contigs for structural and functional characterization. ^ GF Insulin demonstrated increased expression levels after the consumption of a high caloric diet at 15mins, 1 hour and 4 hours, postprandial. An understanding of the metabolic regulation of appetite and feed utilization would significantly aid poultry producers in the development of species specific feed formulation and increased production of the guinea fowl. ^ The importance of identifying alternative food sources is matched by the need to continually increase the food safety. Here the utility of avian antibodies in the detection of food-borne pathogens on a SPReeta Biosensor platform was investigated. Chicken antibodies derived from the egg yolks of immunized birds displayed an increase in both sensitivity to Salmonella typhimurium OMP (1ng/ml) and Salmonella typhimurium (10^-8 cfu/ml), when comparedto mammalian antibodies. While attempts to characterize GF antibodies were unsuccessful continued efforts in this area will further our understanding of evolutionary biology, extend the resource pool available for comparative genetics, and aid in increasing the profitability and marketability of the Guinea Fowl as alternative poultry.^

Subject Area

Biology, Genetics|Agriculture, Animal Culture and Nutrition

Recommended Citation

Carl E Darris, "Transcriptome analysis and functional characterization of genes associated with feed efficiency and immune function in poultry" (2012). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3552774.