Across-line SNP association study of innate and adaptive immune response in laying hens

F. Biscarini, H. Bovenhuis, J.A.M. van Arendonk, H.K. Parmentier, B.J. Jungerius, J.J. van der Poel

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35 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of the present study was to detect quantitative trait loci (QTL) for innate and adaptive immunity in laying hens. For this purpose, the associations between 1022 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers and immune traits were studied in 583 hens from nine different layer lines. Immune traits were natural antibodies for keyhole limpet haemocyanin (KLH) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) at 20, 40 and 65 weeks, acquired antibodies to the vaccinal virus of Newcastle disease at 20 weeks, and complement activity measured on sheep and bovine red blood cells at 20, 40 and 65 weeks. We adopted a novel approach based on across-line analysis and testing of the SNP-by-line interaction. Among lines, linkage disequilibrium is conserved at shorter distances than in individual lines; therefore, SNPs significantly associated with immune traits across lines are expected to be near the functional mutations. In the analysis, the SNPs that had a significant across-line effect but did not show significant SNP-by-line interaction were identified to test whether the association was consistent in the individual lines. Ultimately, 59 significant associations between SNPs and immune traits were detected. Our results confirmed some previously identified QTL and identified new QTL potentially involved in the immune function. We found evidence for a role of IL17A (chromosome 3) in natural and acquired antibody titres and in the classical and alternative pathways of complement activation. The major histocompatibility genes on chromosome 16 showed significant association with natural and acquired antibody titres and classical complement activity. The IL12B gene on chromosome 13 was associated with natural antibody titres
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-38
JournalAnimal Genetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • quantitative trait loci
  • linkage disequilibrium
  • antibody-response
  • natural antibodies
  • chickens
  • populations
  • heritability
  • enteritidis
  • survival
  • disease

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