Title

Do Mosquitoes Feed On Individual Chickens Equally, and why is it Important?

Lead Author Major

Biological Sciences

Format

Oral Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Tara Thiemann

Faculty Mentor Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract/Artist Statement

West Nile virus (WNV) is transmitted by mosquitoes and can infect a variety of host species, including many different birds and humans. When infection occurs, the host creates antibodies to fight the virus. This fact has been used to develop WNV surveillance techniques, one of the foremost being used in the Sentinel Chicken Program. In California, sentinel chicken coops are placed around the state and are blood sampled regularly to test for antibodies as an early warning system for WNV outbreaks. The current calculations used to determine the prevalence of WNV in a particular area depend on the assumption that individual chickens are fed upon equally by mosquitoes. However, for other host species, including humans, it is known that mosquitoes prefer certain individuals over others. The goal of the current project is to develop an assay to identify individual chickens in these sentinel coops using microsatellite markers. By determining the identity of chicken blood samples and matching them with mosquito blood meals taken around the chicken coop, potential mosquito preference for individual chickens can be observed. If mosquitoes show a high degree of preference, so chickens are not bitten equally and at random, then this work may be significant in determining the prevalence of WNV in a particular area.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

Start Date

30-4-2016 3:00 PM

End Date

30-4-2016 5:00 PM

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Apr 30th, 3:00 PM Apr 30th, 5:00 PM

Do Mosquitoes Feed On Individual Chickens Equally, and why is it Important?

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

West Nile virus (WNV) is transmitted by mosquitoes and can infect a variety of host species, including many different birds and humans. When infection occurs, the host creates antibodies to fight the virus. This fact has been used to develop WNV surveillance techniques, one of the foremost being used in the Sentinel Chicken Program. In California, sentinel chicken coops are placed around the state and are blood sampled regularly to test for antibodies as an early warning system for WNV outbreaks. The current calculations used to determine the prevalence of WNV in a particular area depend on the assumption that individual chickens are fed upon equally by mosquitoes. However, for other host species, including humans, it is known that mosquitoes prefer certain individuals over others. The goal of the current project is to develop an assay to identify individual chickens in these sentinel coops using microsatellite markers. By determining the identity of chicken blood samples and matching them with mosquito blood meals taken around the chicken coop, potential mosquito preference for individual chickens can be observed. If mosquitoes show a high degree of preference, so chickens are not bitten equally and at random, then this work may be significant in determining the prevalence of WNV in a particular area.