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Genetics. 1998 Jan; 148(1): 349–360.
PMCID: PMC1459797

Genetic mapping of quantitative trait loci affecting susceptibility to Marek's disease virus induced tumors in F2 intercross chickens.


Marek's disease (MD) is a lymphoproliferative disease caused by the MD virus (MDV), which costs the poultry industry nearly $1 billion annually. To identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting MD susceptibility, the inbred lines 6(3) (MD resistant) and 7(2) (MD susceptible) were mated to create more than 300 F2 chickens. The F2 chickens were challenged with MDV JM strain, moderately virulent) at 1 wk of age and assessed for MD susceptibility. The QTL analysis was divided into three stages. In stage 1, 65 DNA markers selected from the chicken genetic maps were typed on the 40 most MD-susceptible and the 40 most MD-resistant F2 chickens, and 21 markers residing near suggestive QTL were revealed by analysis of variance (ANOVA). In stage 2, the suggestive markers plus available flanking markers were typed on 272 F2 chickens, and three suggestive QTL were identified by ANOVA. In stage 3, using the interval mapping program Map Manager and permutation tests, two significant and two suggestive MD QTL were identified on four chromosomal subregions. Three to five loci collected explained between 11 and 23% of the phenotypic MD variation, or 32-68% of the genetic variance. This study constitutes the first report in the domestic chicken on the mapping of non-major histocompatibility complex QTL affecting MD susceptibility.

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