Metagenomics discovers new poultry viruses

18-05-2012 | | |
Metagenomics discovers new poultry viruses

USDA scientists discover unknown poultry viruses using metagenomics, a powerful molecular tool, in order to combat viral enteric disease in birds, the Agricultural Research Service annouced.

Scientists at the Agriculture Research Service (ARS) Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory in Athens Georgia, have discovered a new virus that could have anitmicrobial applications, using metagenomics. Traditional sequencing characterises genes in a single organism, metagenomics detects the nucleic acid of thousands of organisms in a community.

The studty examined the nucleic acid from poultry intestines from several US poultry flocks infected with enteric diseases. The scientists were surprised to discover previously unknown turkey viruses like picobirnavirus, a virus implicated in enteric disease in other agricultural animals, and a calicivirus, a type of virus often associated with human enteric diseases.

ARS is the chief intramural scientific research agency of USDA.

Decreasingd weight, increased production costs, and mortality is a problem the poultry industry faces each year, costs incurred due to syndromes such as poult enteritis mortality and runting-stunting syndromes, and poult enteritis complex. These diseases appear to be caused by a combination of facrtors, without any single causative agent.

The study can be read in detail in the April 2012 Agricultural Research via the ARS