News update:Mar 9, 2016

Poultry orgs collaborate on new turkey genotyping array

A new turkey genotyping array has been launched to help breeders better understand the genetics of turkeys in order to improve meat characteristics and health.

The development of the so-named Axiom Turkey Genotyping Array was led by Dr Julie Long of the USDA-ARS Beltsville Agricultural Research Center under a public-private partnership with Hendrix Genetics, Aviagen, and Affymetrix.

Quickly evaluate genetic markers

The array will enable scientists and breeders to quickly evaluate genetic markers that can be associated with improved traits such as health outcome and fertility. It will also help the industry sustainably address the growing demands of consumers by reducing feed consumption and environmental footprint. Over 45 million turkeys will be served on Thanksgiving Day this year in the United States. This array is expected to help improve turkey populations broadly in the next few years.

The Turkey Genome Sequencing Consortium led the efforts to sequence the turkey genome. The SNP marker discovery effort was led by Prof Martien Groenen of the Animal Breeding and Genomics Centre at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, and was funded by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The SNP markers on the turkey array were selected by Dr Curt Van Tassell of the USDA-ARS Beltsville Agricultural Research Center.

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Advance the understanding of turkey genetics

"The domestic turkey is an economically important source of meat for consumers in the United States," stated Dr Julie Long of USDA-ARS. "The research performed with this array will help advance the understanding of genetics in turkey, especially for traits that are difficult to predict such as disease resistance and fertility. Understanding turkey genetics requires evaluating large numbers of genetic markers with different sample types. We are excited about the prospect of having this array available for both research and enhancing genetic improvement of the domestic turkey."

"Axiom Turkey Genotyping Array is a benefit to the global turkey industry and provides many opportunities and avenues for future research," stated Dr Alfons Koerhuis, chief technical officer for the Aviagen Group. "Aviagen is pleased to be a part of making it available for public use. This array is the latest output in a long ongoing collaboration between Aviagen and Affymetrix, paving the way for genomics selection research and implementation in Aviagen's breeding programs."

Commercial launch

The commercial launch of the array by Affymetrix allows the entire avian and animal genetics community to benefit from the effort.

"We are pleased to support the goals of the turkey and avian research community to improve breeding stocks and address the broader goals of public institutions and private breeders, such as food security and disease resistance," said Laurent Bellon, senior vice president and general manager, Genotyping Business Unit at Affymetrix. "Affymetrix is committed to meeting the avian research and breeding community's needs with advanced technologies that are practical, easy to use, and cost-effective."


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