Chicken virus study sheds light on human cancers
Published: 21st Nov 2011 14:19:34
A study into a virus commonly found in chickens could shed new light on how human cancers develop.
The study into Marek's disease could also benefit the poultry industry, making it possible to breed birds with greater resistance to the disease.
Edinburgh University scientists analysed thousands of genes to pinpoint those with a role in Marek's disease.
It is a viral infection that costs the global poultry industry more than £1.4bn a year.
The scientists at The Roslin Institute at Edinburgh University and the Institute for Animal Health identified a gene called IRG1 that makes chickens more susceptible to the disease.
Marek's disease is highly contagious and chickens are becoming increasingly resistant to vaccination”
The gene is thought to cause the death of cells, which can in turn lead to diseases including cancer.
Researchers also found how the Marek's disease virus may also encourage tumour growth.
Chickens and mammals, including humans, have anti-tumour mechanisms, one of which is controlled by a gene called HIC1.
HIC1 switches on lots of other genes which have anti-tumour effects.
The Marek's disease virus switches off the genes controlled by HIC1, meaning it turns off key genes that would normally work to block tumours.
These genes are also linked to fighting tumours in humans and the study could help research into preventing some types of cancers in people, which like Marek's disease, are caused by viruses.
Such viruses include the human papilloma virus, which can lead to cervical cancer, and Kaposi's sarcoma, which affects patients with HIV.
Professor Pete Kaiser, of The Roslin Institute who led the research, said: "Marek's disease is highly contagious and chickens are becoming increasingly resistant to vaccination.
"Identifying a gene that increases the risk of Marek's disease could help us breed chickens that are less susceptible to infection.
"Also, learning about how chickens affected by Marek's disease fail to combat the onset of tumours will help us learn more about how certain viruses can trigger cancer in humans."
The research, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, is published in the Journal of Virology.
At 15:04:47 in BusinessLloyds Banking Group has been fined £218m for "serious misconduct" over some key interest rates set in London.
At 14:58:34 in HeadlinesGaza is in a "critical condition" and violence there must stop "in the name of humanity", the UN secretary general says.
At 14:56:38 in WalesA retired North Wales Police custody sergeant is facing jail after admitting misconduct in public office.
At 14:56:13 in SportLeague One side Gillingham have signed Wolves defender Kortney Hause on a youth loan deal.
At 14:54:35 in EnglandThe Environment Agency is investigating what caused the death of about 250 fish in Oxfordshire.
At 14:53:54 in EntertainmentThe renowned architect Sir Richard MacCormac has died aged 75 after a long illness.
At 14:53:01 in WorldThe two flight data recorders from a passenger jet that crashed in Mali last week, killing all 118 aboard, have arrived in France.
At 14:53:01 in SportGuernsey's 400m record-holder Tom Druce is considering quitting athletics after a disappointing performance at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
At 14:52:43 in SportNorthern Ireland's Michael Conlan beat Shiva Thapa from India on a unanimous decision to secure a quarter-final place in the bantamweight division.
At 14:51:10 in SportSouth Africa have regained top spot in the world Test rankings after winning their series in Sri Lanka.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2011. Chicken virus study sheds light on human cancers [Online] (Updated 21st Nov 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/204084/Chicken-virus-study-sheds-light-on-human-cancers [Accessed 28th Jul 2014]
News In Other Categories
The Environment Agency is investigating what caused the death of about 250 fish in Oxfordshire.
Russia has offered 3.9m roubles ($110,000; £65,000) in a contest seeking a way to crack the identities of users of the Tor network.
Most border crossings in Liberia have been closed and communities hit by an Ebola outbreak face quarantine to try to halt the spread of the virus.
A retired North Wales Police custody sergeant is facing jail after admitting misconduct in public office.
The renowned architect Sir Richard MacCormac has died aged 75 after a long illness.
Lloyds Banking Group has been fined £218m for "serious misconduct" over some key interest rates set in London.