Animal Industry Report

Extension Number

ASL R2996



Summary and Implications

Advances in the use of next generation sequencing (NGS) and ability to pool individuals into groups that represent distinct livestock populations has made it possible to examine trait differences between breeds of chicken. The breeds examined are very divergent when compared on their history of laying ability and immune response. The long-term objective is to understand the genetic differences between the Leghorn and Fayoumi breeds for use in developing more productive and disease resistant chickens. Statistical testing of the sequence of the two breeds along with Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) to make connections between the genetic variation seen in the NGS data and the breed specific traits of egg laying and heightened immune response can be used to characterize these two breeds. Genetic terms having the highest level of differentiation between the lines appear to group into metabolic processes, with terms over-enriched for immune system process, sexual reproduction, and growth for variants examined between lines. Terms for functions within the Fayoumi and Leghorn populations aligned to immune function and reproductive function, respectively. These results are consistent with known breed phenotypes and provide a means to focus on specific DNA variations and the birds’ genetic diversity that are potentially of more commercial importance.

Copyright Holder

Iowa State University