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Genome-wide association study of antibody response to Newcastle disease virus in chicken

Chenglong Luo13, Hao Qu13, Jie Ma13, Jie Wang13, Chunyu Li13, Chunfen Yang13, Xiaoxiang Hu2, Ning Li2 and Dingming Shu13*

  • * Corresponding author: Dingming Shu

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Animal Science, Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, 1 Dafeng 1st Street, Wushan, Tianhe District, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510640, China

2 State Key Laboratory for Agro-Biotechnology, China Agricultural University, Beijing, 100193, China

3 State Key Laboratory of Livestock and Poultry Breeding, Guangzhou, 510640, China

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BMC Genetics 2013, 14:42  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-14-42

Published: 10 May 2013



Since the first outbreak in Indonesia in 1926, Newcastle disease has become one of the most common and contagious bird diseases throughout the world. To date, enhancing host antibody response by vaccination remains the most efficient strategy to control outbreaks of Newcastle disease. Antibody response plays an important role in host resistance to Newcastle disease, and selection for antibody response can effectively improve disease resistance in chickens. However, the molecular basis of the variation in antibody response to Newcastle disease virus (NDV) is not clear. The aim of this study was to detect genes modulating antibody response to NDV by a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in chickens.


To identify genes or chromosomal regions associated with antibody response to NDV after immunization, a GWAS was performed using 39,833 SNP markers in a chicken F2 resource population derived from a cross between two broiler lines that differed in their resistance. Two SNP effects reached 5% Bonferroni genome-wide significance (P<1.26×10-6). These two SNPs, rs15354805 and rs15355555, were both on chicken (Gallus gallus) chromosome 1 and spanned approximately 600 Kb, from 100.4 Mb to 101.0 Mb. Rs15354805 is in intron 7 of the chicken Roundabout, axon guidance receptor, homolog 2 (ROBO2) gene, and rs15355555 is located about 243 Kb upstream of ROBO2. Rs15354805 explained 5% of the phenotypic variation in antibody response to NDV, post immunization, in chickens. Rs15355555 had a similar effect as rs15354805 because of its linkage disequilibrium with rs15354805 (r2=0.98).


The region at about 100 Mb from the proximal end of chicken chromosome 1, including the ROBO1 and ROBO2 genes, has a strong effect on the antibody response to the NDV in chickens. This study paves the way for further research on the host immune response to NDV.

Chicken; Newcastle disease; Antibody response; Genome-wide association study