Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Cell & Molecular Biology (PhD)

Degree Level



Biological Sciences


Douglas D. Rhoads

Committee Member

Ralph Henry

Second Committee Member

David S. McNabb

Third Committee Member

Charles Rosenkrans


Broilers, CPQ gene, Metabolomics, Poultry, Proteomics, Pulmonary Hypertension Syndrome


The present dissertation contains a collection of studies that examine the genomic, proteomic, and metabolomic association to pulmonary hypertension or ascites phenotype in fast-growing broilers. Pulmonary hypertension is a multifactorial metabolic disease influenced by physiological, environmental, and nutritional factors. It is characterized by a number of structural changes including, thrombosis and adverse pulmonary vascular remodeling. Thus, the atrial pressure is increased, and the right ventricle becomes hypertrophied, resulting in heart failure and the death of the bird. Pulmonary hypertension or ascites is a global problem that has negatively impacted the economy. The increased mortality rate of broilers (25%) is estimated to cost $1 billion per year in economic losses. Even though molecular genetic techniques were used in the breeding and selection, they have significantly reduced the occurrence of ascites, but not fully eradicated it. Hence, the main objective of this dissertation was to: measure the expression of the CPQ gene in eight tissues (heart, liver, kidney, thigh, breast, spleen, lung, thymus) to investigate the possible effect of a specific genotype on the gene expression, develop a TaqMan assay for the 125 Kbp chromosomal deletion of CPQ gene to test the potential associations with ascites phenotype, and to identify noninvasive biomarkers for early ascites detection by examining the proteomic and metabolomic changes prior and post ascites development.