Turkey Functional Genomics
The Reed laboratory has led the effort to develop genetic resources for the turkey, culminating in a medium density genetic linkage map in support of the recent assembly and analysis of a draft genome sequence and we are part of an ongoing effort to improve the sequence of the turkey genome. Additional research is directed towards the application of these genomic resources for collaborative functional investigations in muscle physiology, immunology, toxicology, and microbiome/gut health. Projects have included a comprehensive approach to investigation of muscle function and development as it relates to meat production and an examination of gene expression associated with thermal challenge as it relates to mucle development. A second project focuses on the structure and evolution of the turkey major histocompatibility complex (MHC) to identify important haplotypes, develop and trial assays for genetic testing of commercial and experimental populations, and explore expression of key genes. This group's efforts have made the turkey one of the better characterized avian species at the MHC. The researchers are currently using RNA-seq approaches to better understand the metabolic and immunological responses of turkey to probiotic and aflatoxin exposure. These studies are aimed at mitigating the effects of mycotoxin contaminants in feed, and understanding the role of probiotics in gut health.
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