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Phenotypic analysis of the challenged chicken cohort revealed a significant positive correlation between CLS and IL-10, with significant negative correlations of both these traits with WG. Eigenanalysis of phenotypic covariances between measured traits revealed three distinct eigenvectors. Trait weightings of the first eigenvector, (EV1, eigenvalue = 59%), were biologically interpreted as representing a response of birds that were susceptible to infection, with low WG, high CLS and high IL-10. Similarly, the second eigenvector represented infection resilience/resistance (EV2, 22%; high WG, low CLS and high IL-10), and the third eigenvector tolerance (EV3, 19%; high WG, high CLS and low IL-10), respectively. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) identified two SNPs that were associated with WG at the suggestive level.
Eigenanalysis separated the phenotypic impact of a defined challenge with E. tenella on weight gain, caecal inflammation/pathology, and production of IL-10 into three major eigenvectors, indicating that the susceptibility-resistance axis is not a single continuous quantitative trait. The SNPs identified by the GWAS for body weight were located in close proximity to two genes that are involved in innate immunity (FAM96B and RRAD).
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