General Research

We are working to further develop assays using our unique method of detection that offers higher specificity and sensitivity than current methods. These methods increase the ability to discriminate between closely-related sequences and successfully detect single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a multiplex assay.

Research is being performed regarding Nanopore DNA sequencing using technologies such as the GridION System developed by Oxford Nanopore Technologies.

Avian Research

Research at Animal Genetics is directed toward a better understanding of some fundamental aspects of the biology and evolution of birds. In the past the most intensely investigated subjects have involved

  • The structure and evolution of the avian W- and Z-sex chromosomes, especially as this relates to molecular, DNA-based sex identification of birds; and
  • The phylogeny and the evolution of the Psittaciforms (parrots, parakeets) as derived from the sequences of selected sex-chromosomal DNA sequence elements.

More recently research has been directed toward: 

  • A better understanding of the mode of action of certain avian viruses, most notably the virus causing Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD); and
  • Diagnosis of Avian Bornavirus infection in psittaciforms by serum antibody detection and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assay using feather calami.

Canine Research

Due to an increase in the number of Australian Shepherds, as well as other breeds, being diagnosed with Pelger-Huet Anomaly, Animal Genetics is interested in finding the genetic basis for this inherited disease. We hope to develop a DNA test that is cost effective, doesn’t require a vet visit, and can be performed using non-invasive cheek swab samples.

Equine Research

  • Developing new assays for equine inherited disorders and physical traits.
  • Continue developing better multiplexing assays for equine testing on an ABI3130xl.
  • Research links between equine physical characteristics and the inherited genetics in order to develop new assays that can help predict overall performance.