Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (BS)
College of Science
Muscular dystrophy is very common among broilers, which are chickens raised specifically for meat production. When dystrophic chickens are mated, or when normal and dystrophic chickens are mated, it is very likely that at least fifty percent of the clutch will end up with muscular dystrophy since it is inherited as a co-dominant disorder (Fujiwara et al., 2009). For my study, eggs were obtained from a local farm, and allowed to hatch. Among these hatchings were chicks who exhibited some traits of muscular dystrophy. It is possible that the parents of the seemingly dystrophic chicks may carry the mutated WWP1 allele which would cause the chicks to exhibit these traits. Because chickens are useful animal models of disease, it is important to try to understand the mutations in the WWP1 gene so we can see exactly how it affects the ubiquitin-ligase pathway, and how we can work to reverse the mutations to eliminate the disease all together. Understanding the disease in chickens may help us to further understand muscular dystrophy in humans as well. By taking feathers from the potentially dystrophic chicks and their parents, phenotypic characterization of these chicks was done to confirm diagnosis of muscular dystrophy. Further DNA sequencing for the WWP1 mutation associated with muscular dystrophy (Hirokazu et al., 2008) was performed to determine whether these chicks had the previously characterized mutation for muscular dystrophy in this gene.
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Smith, Kayla N., "Characteristics and Effects of Muscular Dystrophy in Broiler Chickens" (2013). Honors Theses. 36.