Mule deer can be captured, collared, and counted and dead mule deer can be examined to see if they carry chronic wasting disease. Their movements can be tracked across rugged terrain and into
grasslands and with all this information, wildlife researchers can start to develop management strategies to slow the spread of CWD. What will really advance the understanding of CWD however is learning more about the genetics of the deer, which is just what our project on chronic wasting disease has been doing.
The team has sequenced the genome of the mule deer to help them understand the disease pathway and tie that into all the other information they have been collecting. It will also help them learn more about white tail and mule deer hybridization.
The researchers have not published their findings yet, but we were able to get a sneak preview in this podcast featuring project manager Cathy Cullingham talking with freelance broadcaster Don Hill.