Ziqi Yang | ALES Graduate Seminar

Date(s) - 16/10/2023
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

A graduate exam seminar is a presentation of the student’s final research project for their degree.
This is an ALES PhD Final Exam Seminar by Ziqi Yang. This seminar is open to the general public to attend.


Meeting ID: 918 4105 9501
Passcode: 094801

Thesis Topic: Exploring biomarkers to predict pig disease resilience traits under a natural disease challenge

PhD with Dr. Graham Plastow.

Seminar Abstract:

This thesis established a framework for evaluating pig resilience, exploring the utility of diverse molecular data sources, including acute phase proteins (APPs), transcriptomes, and metabolomes from peripheral blood, in predicting pig disease resilience within a natural disease challenge model. It also contributed insights into the underlying molecular mechanisms that drive differential responses to polymicrobial challenges in pigs, shedding light on the potential for leveraging disease resilience as a breeding objective to meet the growing demand for healthy pork products. The complexity of polymicrobial challenges and concerns over antibiotic resistance underscore the need for alternative infection control strategies beyond vaccines. Breeding for disease resilience, defined as maintaining productive performance during pathogen infections, emerges as a potential solution.

This research focused on three types of biological information in blood: serum acute phase proteins (APPs), whole blood transcriptomes, and serum metabolomes, all of which have been previously associated with disease diagnosis and livestock production assessment. The key question was whether these molecules could serve as predictive biomarkers for pig disease resilience before pathogen exposure. The findings revealed that certain biomarkers, particularly alpha-1 acid glycoprotein (AGP), may have some correlation with productivity-related traits in pigs prior to disease challenge. Additionally, the study identified distinct immune response strategies in resilient pigs, suggesting that they may maintain productivity under disease challenge by conserving energy expenditure in their immune systems. In conclusion, while this study offered valuable insights into the molecular foundations of pig resilience and potential biomarkers, it highlights the difficulty of predicting disease resilience solely based on these pre-challenge molecular data. Nonetheless, the research lays the foundation for further exploration in breeding strategies aimed at enhancing disease resilience in pigs and meeting the growing demand for healthier pork products.