Coccidiosis in broiler chickens, caused by infection with Eimeria spp. remains one of the most economically important production diseases. Development of a genetic biomarker panel of sub-clinical infection would be an important biological tool for the management of broiler flocks. We analysed expression of MicroRNAs (miRNAs) to determine the potential for these in diagnosing coccidiosis in broiler flocks. miRNA expression, in the ilea of Ross 308 broilers, was compared between chickens naturally clinically or sub-clinically infected with Eimeria maxima and Eimeria acervulina using NextSeq 500 sequencing. 50 miRNAs with greatest coefficient of variance were determined and principal component analysis showed that these miRNAs clustered within the clinical and sub-clinical groups much more closely than uninfected controls. Following false detection rate analysis and quantitative PCR we validated 3 miRNAs; Gallus gallus (gga)-miR-122-5p, gga-miR-205b and gga-miR-144-3p, which may be used to diagnose sub-clinical coccidiosis.
- miRNA sequencing
- Sub-clinical infection