Diagnosis of sub-clinical coccidiosis in fast growing broiler chickens by MicroRNA profiling

Tim Giles, Tommy van Limbergen, Panagiotis Sakkas, Lily Quinn, Aouatif Belkhiri, Dominiek Maes, Ilias Kyriazakis, Paul Barrow, Neil Foster*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3218-3225
Number of pages8
Issue number5
Early online date18 Mar 2020
Publication statusPrint publication - Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Chicken
  • Coccidiosis
  • miRNA sequencing
  • Sub-clinical infection


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