National Capability Grant - National Avian Research Facility

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: The Roslin Institute


This facility provides underpinning funding the National Avian Research Facility (NARF), a joint venture of The Roslin Institute (RI) and The Pirbright Institute (PI). The facility forms a national resource centre for experimental science of poultry and model avian species. The NARF, based at RI will comprise new Specified-Pathogen-Free and conventional avian facilities. This facility will provide specialist resources for avian biology research, ranging from basic developmental biology to research of direct value to the poultry breeding and production industry, and of benefit to human health through reducing food-borne zoonoses. At RI, our vision is to develop a research resource centre that will maintain and provide access to inbred and transgenic lines, transgenic and germ cell preservation technologies alongside genetic/genomic and gene expression analytical resources. This centre will be not just a unique resource centre for the UK, but a unique and world- leading centre, because of the wide range of facilities we will bring together. These resources will be available to the relevant UK research communities and also for international collaborations. NARF will benefit from input from ARK Genomics, as a centre for genomics and transcriptomics of a wide range of bird species, including inbred chicken lines, commercial poultry species and breeds and other key avian species of research interest. It will also integrate provision of other resources, for example the Chicken Gene Expression Atlas that is being developed with BBSRC funding, currently specifically to support developmental biology research. There are two components of the facility for which this NCG provides funding for: (1) support for the Transgenic Chicken Facility (TCF), including opportunities to work with the TCF to generate novel transgenic chickens and for access to material from established transgenic lines and (2) the infrastructure to maintain 8 inbred lines of chickens (although the cost of maintaining these lines will come from PI ISP/NCG funds), each of a single MHC haplotype, for studying basic immunology, vaccinology and the genetic contribution to traits of economic importance, particularly those associated with resistance and susceptibility to disease. These two aspects will also coincide in providing opportunities for generating transgenic birds in the specific genotypes of the inbred lines.


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Bailey IE (2014) Physical cognition: birds learn the structural efficacy of nest material. in Proceedings. Biological sciences

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Bettridge JM (2014) Infection-interactions in Ethiopian village chickens. in Preventive veterinary medicine

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Boswell T (2015) Regulation of the avian central melanocortin system and the role of leptin. in General and comparative endocrinology

Description This is not actually a research grant. Over the past 5 years we have developed improved genome annotation, transgenic technologies, novel reagents and method for preservation of avian germ plasm that transform the utility of the chicken as a experimental animal and also contribute to improvement of the productivity, health and welfare of chickens as livestock.
Exploitation Route The NARF is a major asset for the UK research community
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink