373 thirteen-week-old chicks issued from a commercial cross and 312 chickens from the L2 line were intravenously inoculated with 106 Salmonella enteritidis and the numbers of Salmonella in the spleen, liver and genital organs were assessed 3 days later. Heritabilities of the number of Salmonella were estimated at 0.02 ± 0.04 and 0.05 ± 0.05 in the liver; at 0.29 ± 0.07 and 0.10 ± 0.06 in the spleen; and at 0.16 ± 0.05 and 0.11 ± 0.08 in the genital organs, in the first and second experiments, respectively. The difference between the two experiments could result from sampling variations and from differences in the genetic structure of the two populations possibly including both heterosis and additive effects as well as their interaction in the first experiment. Genetic correlations between the number of bacteria in the genital organs and liver (0.56 ± 0.58 and 0.76 ± 0.32 in the first and second experiments, respectively) and spleen (0.37 ± 0.24 and 0.79 ± 0.23) were positive. Moreover a significant within-sire effect of VIL1, a marker gene for NRAMP1, was observed in 117 progeny resulting from 25 informative matings. These results indicate that there are genetic differences in the resistance to visceral infection by S. enteritidis in these commercial egg-laying flocks, and suggest that these differences are at least partly due to genetic polymorphism in the NRAMP1 region.
Keywords: genetics, Salmonella, resistance, NRAMP1, poultry