Since December of last year we have been giving you regular updates on our Chronic Wasting Disease project funded as part of the 2015 LSARP competition. CWD is a fatal nervous system disease among cervids (deer, moose, elk, reindeer). It is a variation of BSE (more commonly known as mad cow disease) and is caused by prions. The only reliable test to see if an animal has CWD is a postmortem examination so the team has to rely on sample collection from a variety of sources including the provincial governments from Manitoba and British Columbia, as well as Parks Canada, the US Parks Service, and the government of the NorthwestTerritories.
It has been thought for some time that it was specific to cervids but recent research including work done by our Genome Alberta funded project based at the University of Alberta, has found that CWD is able to jump species. In this episode you'll hear more about that development and a new paper from the researchers. Chronic Wasting Disease Prion Strain Emergence and Host Range Expansion
is available online now
and the other paper mentioned in the podcast, Destabilizing polymorphism in cervid prion protein hydrophobic core determines prion conformation and conversion efficiency
has been accepted for publication in PLOS Pathogens.
If you want to hear previous CWD updates they are all available here