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Have you ever heard of Newcastle disease? It’s a dangerous viral infection among chickens and wild birds. It rarely infects people, but it is a threat to the global poultry industry. This is especially true in low and middle-income countries where it’s harder for farmers to protect their chickens. One strategy to combat Newcastle disease is to select for breeds of chicken which are less likely to get the disease. But which breeds resist Newcastle disease and what enables this resistance? To find out we compared the innate immune responses of different breeds of chicken. We looked at which ones were more likely to get infected. Our results revealed the higher expression of five common genes among these breeds. We also found that some versions of the breeds (known as sublines) express some unique genes. These genes might be the key to new breeding strategies that fight Newcastle disease.

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