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RA1 - Characterisation of animal lines

RA1 has as its overall objective to characterise the animal lines of the different species used as experimental models of animal infectious diseases including susceptibility, definition of surrogate markers of infection and evaluation of exposure and manipulation procedures.


Experimental infection in animals has been and is still used as a proof of an organism's disease causing ability. Although many infectious agents show a significant degree of host specificity, causing disease in only a few related species, numerous animal models have now been developed that closely mimic the course of animal and human infectious diseases. These models have been developed because they offer insights into the pathogenicity of the infection and the immune response against the pathogen, and provide a convenient system for testing new diagnostic and therapeutic tools and vaccines. However, animal populations typically exhibit considerable genetic variation for resistance to infection by a selected pathogen. This genetic variability might be used through appropriate QTL or functional genomic methodology to determine genetic mechanisms of susceptibility but may also result in the failure or inconclusiveness of experimental trials.

The use of reference lines with known sanitary and genetic status increases the results’ reliability. When available, the inbred lines stability allows to cumulate data and between experiments comparisons. These advantages have been determinant for the development of mouse models of infection in Biomedical research. But the development of emergent diseases in farm animals and the study of their transmissibility to human require the development of a model of infection directly in the target host or in mice carrying human gene involved in genetic susceptibility to diseases.


Members of the platform will share animal lines, expertise, and facilities to promote research on these invaluable tools that represent animal lines with a defined sanitary status and genetic characteristics.

  • Definition of sanitary status will be done according to available regulations and using classical immunological and microbiological tools. In addition specific amplification (PCR) of pathogen nucleic acids
  • will be done as required.
  • Genetic characterization and comparisons between lines will use modern tools from the molecular genomics and particularly SNPs markers to define within line and interlines diversity.
  • Disease susceptibility of each line will be investigated through experimental infections and pathogenesis studies that will involve potential pathogens from classical and emerging diseases. In case of inbred lines, researchers will be able to cumulate available information relative to each line.

This will help to the definition of farm animals models of infection adapted to the development and validation of new diagnosis, vaccines, and therapeutics tools. Emerging pathogens to be used in this work programme will be selected by the partners involved (see RA3).

Task leaders

  • RA1.1 – Characterisation of inbred chicken lines
    Task Leader : Institute for Animal Health (United Kingdom)
  • RA1.2 – Characterisation of dd minipigs
    Task leader: Institute for Animal Health IAH United Kingdom
  • RA1.3 – Characterisation of sheep
    Task leader: Moredun Research Institute (United Kingdom)
  • RA1.4 – Characterisation of transgenic mice
    Task leader: Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria (Spain)
  • RA1.5 – Characterisation of fishes
    Task Leader: Veterinærmedisinsk oppdragssenter AS (Norway)
  • RA1.6 – Euro immunological tools
    Task leader: Institute for Animal Health IAH United Kingdom