Research Summary

My research focuses on the application of genomic resources for collaborative functional investigations in muscle physiology, immunology and toxicology. One project includes a comprehensive approach to investigate turkey muscle development and function as it relates to meat quality/production in the context of climate change (thermal challenge). A second project uses RNA-seq to better understand the metabolic and immunological responses of turkey to probiotic and aflatoxin exposure. This studies are aimed at mitigating the effects of mycotoxin contaminants in feed which are of global concern in agriculture. A third focus is host response of commercial turkeys to alteration of intestinal microbiota and probiotics. Finally, we continue to be involved in efforts to improve the genomic resources for poultry and understanding of the turkey major histocompatibility complex (MHC).

Turkey Genome

Despite its significant economic importance, the turkey is one of the few agriculturally important species for which no genomic maps had been constructed. Commodity representatives identify genomics as a top priority. Specifically, of key importance is in how genomic information can be integrated into production systems addressing economical issues associated with animal production. Newly developed technologies can be used to identify and map genes associated with these economically important traitsĀ 
Development of new genetic markers and a comprehensive turkey linkage map has improved our ability to determine the genetic location of QTLs with significant effects on production traits and disease susceptibility in this species as well as enhance similar investigations in the chicken. Construction of the turkey genetic linkage map relied on a reference population constructed through a significant commitment from the turkey industry and funding from the USDA. We are now part of an international consortium that has begun sequencing the turkey genome.

ALIGNMENT OF CHROMOSOME 18 (MGA18) OF THE TURKEY GENOME BUILDS (UMD2.01 AND UMD5.0) TO THE MHC-B SEQUENCE DERIVED FROM ASSEMBLED BAC CLONES [CHAVES ET AL., 2009; BAUER AND REED, 2011]

Alignment of chromosome 18 (MGA 18) of the turkey genome builds (UMD2.01 and UMD5.0) to the MHC-B sequence derived from assembled BAC clones [Caves et al., 2009; Bauer and Reed, 2011]