Fugato E.Coli-Chick: Host pathogen interaction for E. Coli resistance in chicken and its application to breeding programmes

The European poultry industry is currently confronted with major changes in animal husbandry which will have far-reaching consequences for animal health as well as food quality and safety. As a consequence, layers will have to be housed on the floor or in free range systems and will be confronted with a significant threat from infectious diseases. The E. Coli infection is one of the prevalent infection disease in all production systems which cause colibacillosis, an acute and mostly systemic disease resulting in significant losses.
To address this problem, a concerted effort is required which integrates research on the molecular basis of APEC virulence with a detailed knowledge on the host innate and acquired immune response to the pathogen and the genetics of host resistance versus susceptibility and its utilisation in breeding programmes. To provide further control measures in chicken flocks threatened by APEC infection the long term goals of this project are to develop a new vaccine and the genetic improvement of chicken lines by marker assisted and genomic selection.