Date of Award


Document Type




First Reader

Dr. Nathan Reyna

Second Reader

Dr. Jeff Matocha

Third Reader

Dr. Doug Reed


Poultry lameness is a significant problem resulting in millions of dollars in lost revenue annually. In commercial broilers, the most common cause of lameness is bacterial chondronecrosis with osteomyelitis (BCO). The majority of BCO infections involve Staphylococcus agnetis, a bacterium previously not isolated from poultry. Administrating S. agnetis in drinking water to broilers reared on wire flooring increased the incidence of BCO three-fold when compared with broilers drinking tap water (P= 0.001). We are completing an assembly of the sequence of the S. agnetis genome. Currently, the assembly is in 2 large contigs of 2491 kbp and 38 kbp, and 7 small contigs of 2-3 kbp. We have been using bioinformatics and PCR sequencing to determine how these contigs are organized relative to the main bacterial chromosome and plasmids to constitute the entire S. agnetis genome. Annotation of that genome and identification of toxin genes will allow future researchers to better understand the etiology of BCO in broilers, and possibly develop vaccines for reducing BCO in commercial settings. Isolating pathogenic bacterial species, defining their likely route of transmission to boilers, and genomic analyses will contribute substantially to the development of measures for mitigating BCO losses in poultry.



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