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Open Access Evaluation of Marek's disease field isolates by the "best fit" pathotyping assay

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Although determination of the pathotype is central to the study of Marek's disease (MD) field isolates, methods are not standardized and results from different laboratories may not compare well with the original Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory assay. This study was designed to investigate the validity of the "best fit" pathotyping assay, a simplified method recently described for testing of field isolates of MD virus (MDV). Twenty serotype 1 MDV strains were isolated from 12 breeder and commercial flocks in eight regions of the Russian Federation and were pathotyped by the best fit assay using vaccinated and non-vaccinated chickens from Schelkovo specific pathogen free breeders. Lesion responses induced by field isolates were compared with those induced by reference strains JM/102W, Md5, and 648A representing pathotypes v, vv and vv+, respectively. Based on comparison with reference strains, we determined the pathotype of eight isolates as vv+, 11 isolates as vv and one isolate as v. Lesion responses induced by the three reference strains consistently differentiated the respective pathotypes in non-vaccinated chickens and in chickens vaccinated with FC126 (serotype 3) alone or with a bivalent FC126 + 301B/1 vaccine (serotypes 3 and 2, respectively). Variation between reference strain responses in replicate trials was minimal. In some cases, calculation of the proportional distance between pairs of reference strains aided in the classification of field isolates. These results indicate that the "best fit" pathotyping assay can be conducted with local chicken strains and, in the absence of statistical analysis, provides pathotype designations that are consistent with those obtained by the Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory method. In addition, the pathogenicity of Russian isolates appeared comparable with that of United States isolates.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: NARVAC R&D, D.I. Ivanovski Virology Institute, Gamalei str. 16, Moscow, Russia 2: USDA-ARS Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory, MI, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2007

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