Research at Animal Genetics UK
- Further developing assays using locked nucleic acid (LNA™) oligonucleotides that offer higher specificity and sensitivity than current methods. LNA primers increase the ability to discriminate between closely-related sequences and successful detection of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).
- Nanopore DNA sequencing using technologies such as the GridION System developed by Oxford Nanopore Technologies.
Research at Animal Genetics is directed toward a better understanding of some fundamental aspects of the biology and evolution of birds. In the past the most intensely investigated subjects have involved:
a) The structure and evolution of the avian W- and Z-sex chromosomes, especially as this relates to molecular, DNA-based sex identification of birds; and
b) The phylogeny and the evolution of the Psittaciforms (parrots, parakeets) as derived from the sequences of selected sex-chromosomal DNA sequence elements.
More recently research has been directed toward:
c) A better understanding of the mode of action of certain avian viruses, most notably the virus causing Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD); and
d) Diagnosis of Avian Bornavirus infection in psittaciforms by serum antibody detection and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assay using feather calami.
Due to an increase in the number of Australian Shepherds, as well as other breeds, being diagnosed with Pelger-Huet Anomaly, Animal Genetics is interested in finding the genetic basis for this inherited disease. We hope to develop a DNA test that is cost effective, doesn't require a vet visit, and can be performed using non-invasive cheek swab samples.
a) Developing new assays for equine inherited disorders and physical traits.
b) Developing LNA primers for multiplexing equine assays on an ABI3130xl.