Methods for evaluating and developing commercial chicken strains free of endogenous subgroup E avian leukosis virus.Avian Pathol. 2004 Apr; 33(2):233-43.AP
The genome of nearly all chickens contains various DNA proviral insertions of retroviruses of subgroup E avian leukosis virus (ALVE). However, the elimination or control of ALVE gene expression is desirable to improve productivity, to improve resistance to avian leukosis virus (ALV)-induced tumours, and to develop safer live virus vaccines in chick embryos and cultured chick cells. Restriction fragment length polymorphism and polymerase chain reaction methods are used to define the presence of ALVE genes; and the expression of ALVE in chicken plasma or on cells, and the susceptibility of cells to ALVE is determined by flow cytometry using a specific (R2) antibody. ADOL line 0 chickens have been selected to be free of ALVE genes, while being resistant (i.e. lack receptors to ALVE), but susceptible to exogenous ALV (i.e. ALVA, ALVB, ALVC and ALVJ). To develop improved line 0-type chickens, ADOL line 0 was outcrossed to a commercial line that had one ALVE gene and evidence for ALVE resistance. Rous sarcoma virus (RSV) challenge was used to confirm resistance of F1 chickens to ALVE, and susceptibility of F2 breeders to ALVA and ALVB using test chicks produced by matings to line 7(2). Selected F2 breeders were resistant to ALVE, but susceptible to exogenous ALVA, ALVB, ALVC and ALVJ, based on challenge tests of progeny chick cells using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The new line, 0(1), has evidence for improved egg size, productivity, fertility and hatchability. Similar procedures may be used for development of productive ALVE free chicken lines with preferred ALV susceptibility traits.