Genetic diversity takes a beating

The tremendous increase in the productivity of poultry over 50 years has come at a cost: genetic diversity. That may come back to haunt an industry susceptible to avian influenza, says a study published in November in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The study, conducted by an international group of scientists, including those at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory in East Lansing, Mich., and the Department of Animals Sciences, Purdue, West Lafayette, Ind., compared thousands of genetic markers in standard bird flocks and those from commercial breeders.

Better Farming - January 2009