SNP association study for immune and behavioral responses traits in turkeys

The major issues facing the turkey industry worldwide are (i) emerging and classic diseases, in response to a lack of effective strategies for treatment and prevention, and (ii) cannibalism resulting from antisocial/injurious-pecking behaviour. Genetic studies could explain the variance within, and association between, health, immunity and behavioural traits to help manage these issues. The objective of this project is to improve health and behaviour through the identification of genetic variants associated with immunity and antisocial/injurious-pecking behaviour responses. Information gathered will be used to genetically select for turkeys with high immunity response, reduced injurious behaviour, and favorable sociability. Associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), immune parameters, pecking injury prevalence, and mortality/survival rates will be investigated using a novel approach to accurately estimate the purebred-crossbred correlation between purebred parents and crossbred offspring turkeys. The findings of this project could improve the well-being of turkeys worldwide.

Faculty Supervisor:

Alexandra Harlander


Agnese Balzani


Hybrid Turkeys


Animal science




University of Guelph



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