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Animal Breeding and Genetics
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2011;24(5): 603-609.
https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2011.10187    Published online April 27, 2011.
Age Prediction in the Chickens Using Telomere Quantity by Quantitative Fluorescence In situ Hybridization Technique
Y. J. Kim, V. K. Subramani, S. H. Sohn
Telomeres are special structures at the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes. Vertebrate telomeres consist of tandem repeats of conserved TTAGGG sequence and associated proteins. Birds are interesting models for molecular studies on aging and cellular senescence because of their slow aging rates and longer life spans for their body size. In this longitudinal study, we explored the possibility of using telomeres as an age-marker to predict age in Single Comb White Leghorn layer chickens. We quantified the relative amount of telomeric DNA in isolated peripheral blood lymphocytes by the Quantitative Fluorescence in situ Hybridization technique on interphase nuclei (IQ FISH) using telomere-specific DNA probes. We found that the amount of telomeric DNA (ATD) reduced significantly with an increase in chronological age of the chicken. Especially, the telomere shortening rates are greatly increased in growing individuals compared to laying and old-aged individuals. Therefore, using the ATD values obtained by IQ FISH we established the possibility of age prediction in chickens based on the telomere theory of aging. By regression analysis of the ATD values at each age interval, we formulated an equation to predict the age of chickens. In conclusion, the telomeric DNA values by IQ FISH analyses can be used as an effective age-marker in predicting the chronological age of chickens. The study has implications in the breeding and population genetics of poultry, especially the reproductive potential.
Keywords: Chickens; Telomere; Aging; Age Prediction; Fluorescence In situ Hybridization

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