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Poult Sci. 1998 Feb;77(2):185-91.

Comparison of outbred lines of chickens for resistance to experimental infection with coccidiosis (Eimeria tenella).

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  • 1Laboratoire de Génétique Factorielle, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Jouy-en-Josas, France.


Coccidiosis causes dramatic economic losses in the poultry industry. Next to the extensive use of anticoccidial drugs, improving genetic resistance of birds to this parasitic disease represents an attractive alternative. An experiment was run in order to identify lines of chickens resistant and susceptible to coccidiosis as a tool to search for genetic markers of resistance. Five outbred lines were used: two Egyptian lines (Mandarah and Fayoumi), a Rhode Island Red line, and two White Leghorn lines (WLB21 and WLDW). The WLDW line segregated for three MHC haplotypes, B15, B19, and B21, and for the sex-linked dwarf gene, DW. Chicks were challenged at 4 wk of age with a high dose of Eimeria tenella (150,000 oocysts) and slaughtered 8 d postinoculation. Innate resistance was assessed individually by measures of lesion score, mortality, and body weight gain at slaughter, and plasma coloration 4 d postinoculation. Large differences in resistance to E. tenella were observed between lines. The Fayoumi line appeared clearly as the most resistant line, showing no mortality, less severe lesions than other lines, and a 30% reduction of growth as compared to control birds. The WLDW line was the most susceptible, with 27% mortality and a 85% reduction in growth. No major effect of MHC or dwarfism on resistance to E. tenella was found.

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