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Genet Res (Camb). 2009 Jun;91(3):161-9. doi: 10.1017/S0016672309000135.

Resistance to Salmonella carrier state: selection may be efficient but response depends on animal's age.

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  • 1INRA, UR 083 Recherche Avicoles, 37380 Nouzilly, France.


Increasing resistance to acute salmonellosis (defined as bacteraemia in animals showing symptoms) is not sufficient for food safety, because of the risk of carrier state (when animals excrete bacteria without showing any symptoms). Increased resistance to Salmonella carrier state is therefore needed. Two experiments of divergent selection on resistance at a younger and a later age lead to significant differences between lines and allowed estimating genetic parameters on 4262 animals. Heritability of resistance was estimated at 0.16 in chicks, while it varied from 0.14 to 0.23 with analysed organ in adult hens. Genetic correlations between contamination of the different organs ranged from 0.46 to 0.67, while correlations between resistance at both ages were estimated at -0.50, showing that increasing genetic resistance of hens will reduce resistance in chicks. Highest estimated absolute values of genetic correlations between resistance and production traits were, for chicken contamination level, with number of eggs laid between 41 and 60 (0.37) and, for adult contamination, with number of eggs laid between 18 and 24 (0.37) or 25 and 40 (-0.33) weeks of age.

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