Chronic wasting disease is fatal to cervids such as deer or moose, and it can only be diagnosed after the animal has died. That process requires the animal's head to be submitted for testing which needless to say can be messy, and generally only takes place with the cooperation of hunters during hunting season.
There are chemical changes in an animal infected with CWD and the Genome Alberta funded CWD project is working with the assumption that those chemical changes will appear in the droppings of a cervid suffering from the disease.
University of Alberta researcher and head of The Metabolomic Innovation Centre ,David Wishart, is leading that aspect of the project with the ultimate objective of a simple and inexpensive field test to detect the presence of chronic wasting disease.
He talked with freelance broadcaster Don Hill about the project and about other aspects of making metabolomics easy to use in everyday practice.