Scientists at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute in Scotland are working to find the source of some Campylobacter in chickens via a $2 million research project to map genes and gene mutations responsible for increased resistance to colonization of the bacteria in chicken guts. The ultimate goal of the scientists would be to breed Campylobacter-resistant chickens in the future.

Chickens can tolerate large amounts of Campylobacter in their guts without adverse effect.  However, some breeds of chicken are able to naturally resist the colonization of the bacteria, which reduces the opportunity for Campylobacter to enter the food chain.

“We already know from our previous work with non-commercial birds that some chickens are able to reduce the levels of bacterium in their guts,” said Professor Peter Kaiser, who will lead the study.  “We have already identified four regions of the genome that contribute to this resistance.  This new research program should allow us to locate the actual genes responsible for this increased resistance.