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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

Menu Logo Principal AgroParisTech Université Paris-Saclay


GABI : Génétique Animale et Biologie IntégrativeUnité Mixte de Recherche INRA - AgroParisTech

Response parameters for broiler chickens to infection by Eimeria maxima (coccidiosis) and identification of the associated genomic regions

Response parameters for broiler chickens to infection by Eimeria maxima (coccidiosis)
© Inra
During the doctoral studies of Edin Hamzin (supported by the European Graduate School in Animal Breeding and Genetics (EGS-ABG), a large scale study for the response of broiler chickens to coccidiosis (Eimeria maxima) allowed the identification of new phentoypes to be explored and genomic regions associated with this response, to be then used in genomic selection. The genes and biological pathways implicated in tissue repair seem to play an important role.

Context and stakes

The objective of this project carried out in partnership with the breeder Cobb, is to improve our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that control response to Eimeria maxima (coccidiosis) in broiler chickens. Selection of animals with an improved response to pathogens is a complementary pathway to their control on farms. A key step is to understand the molecular mechanisms that control host response to a pathology and to identify the genomic regions implicated in the control of these mechanisms in order to use this information for genomic selection. This study was performed as part of Edin Hamzic's doctoral studies supported by the EGS-ABG (European Granduate School in Animal Breeding and Genetics) with Bertrand Bed-Hom and Marie-Hélène Pinard-van der Laan as French supervisors and Helle Juul-Madsen and Bart Buitenhuis as supervisors in Denmark.


A large scale experimental infection with Eimeria maxima was performed at the UE EASM on Cobb500 broiler chickens in order to evaluate the effects of infection on the parameters measured on two levels: simple phenotyping of all animals and fine phenotyping of a group of extreme animals. Many parameters were significantly affected by them and amongst them, the profile of plasma proteins is a trait that was particularly interesting. In combination with high-throughput genotyping (Affymetrix 580k chip), the phentoypes studied allowed performing a genome wide association study (GWAS) and identifying the regions of the genome and the biological pathways that explain the variations. Several candidate genes and biological pathways that seem to play an important role in the initial phase of infection are implicated in tissue repair, general robustness and to a certain extent an early immune response.


A functional study, complementary to GWAS mapping, is underway: an RNAseq study of gene expression in the liver and spleen of non infected and infected individuals (of extreme phentoypes). In fact, the results of the experimental study allowed the identification of traits that are relevent to study precisely during similar experiments. Finally, the identification of genomic regions implicated in animal performance during Eimeria maxima infection could be used directly in a selection scheme since the study was performed directly on commercial Cobb products.


The results obtained were valorized by presentations during different meetings (Annual meeting of the Scandinavian Society for Immunology, Copenhagen 2013 ; European Symposium on Poultry Genetics , Venice 2013 ; WCGALP, Vancouver 2014 ; PAG, San Diego 2015), and by two publications (Hamzic et al., Journal of Animal Science, 2015 ; Hamzic et al., Genetics Selection Evolution, 2015).


Hamzic E, Bed'Hom B, Juin H, Hawken R, Abrahamsen MS, Elsen JM, Servin B, Pinard-van der Laan MH, Demeure O. Large-scale investigation of the parameters in response to Eimeria maxima challenge in broilers. Journal of Animal Science 2015 93:1830-1840. doi: 10.2527/jas.2014-8592

Hamzic E, Buitenhuis B, Hérault F, Hawken R, Abrahamsen MS, Servin B, Elsen JM, Pinard-van der Laan MH, Bed’Hom B. Genome-wide association study and biological pathway analysis of the Eimeria maxima response in broilers. Genetics Selection Evolution 2015 47:91. doi:10.1186/s12711-015-0170-0

Hamzic E. Genetics of mechanisms controlling responses to two major pathogens in broiler and layer chickens. PhD AgroParisTech / Université d’Aarhus, 8 décembre 2015, Paris