Development and application of a SYBR green real-time PCR for detection of the emerging avian leukosis virus subgroup K

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Avian leukosis virus subgroup K (ALV-K) is an emerging ALV tumor virus of chickens. We developed a SYBR green-based real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for the rapid and economical detection of ALV-K in chicken flocks. The assay was specific for ALV-K and did not cross-react with other ALV subgroup or avian influenza virus, Newcastle disease virus, or Marek's Disease virus. The method was 100 times more sensitive than conventional PCR and 10 times more sensitive than the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the P27 antigen. The assay was also more sensitive than conventional PCR in tests of 86 clinical plasma samples. DF-1 tissue culture cells infected with 1 TCID50 ALV-K particle were identified as negative using ELISA but tested positive with the real-time PCR method. The viral loads in organs and tissues in infected chickens were highest in kidney, lungs, and glandular stomach, and these results matched ELISA findings.

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