December 14, 2009


New Research May Lead to New Ways to Control Honeybee Parasite
Science Daily -
09 Dec 2009
Photo credit: K Stepnitz

Ground-breaking discoveries by Michigan State University researchers could help protect honeybees from deadly parasites that have devastated commercial colonies.

The MSU researchers for the first time were able to produce in the laboratory proteins that help channel sodium ions through cell membranes of parasites known as Varroa mites.

The research, using cellular frog eggs, also found that these proteins react to chemicals differently than the sodium channel proteins in honeybees, a finding that could be a key to controlling the mites.

So far, so good in chronic wasting disease battle
Northwest Herald -
11 December 2009
S Sutschek
Photo credit: HR Bamman/Northwest Herald

. . . “Here in Illinois, we’ve taken an experimental approach to see if we can reduce the disease by reducing the deer levels in the areas we have found it,” he said. “Looking at the first five or six years, it looks like we’re having some success doing that.”

. . . From July 2008 to June 2009, 7,513 usable samples were taken from white-tailed deer and tested. Thirty CWD-positive deer were identified, of which four came from McHenry County.

A total of 20 deer with the disease have been found in the county since 2002, compared with 109 in Winnebago County and 95 in Boone County.

Other Deer News

Reported Wildlife Mortality Events to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center Updated
USGS National Wildlife Health Center
08 December 2009
Area: United States

USGS and a network of partners across the country work on documenting wildlife mortality events in order to provide timely and accurate information on locations, species and causes of death. This information was updated on December 8, 2009 on the USGS National Wildlife Health Center web page, New and Ongoing Wildlife Mortality Events Nationwide. Quarterly Mortality Reports are also available from this page. These reports go back to 1995.

H1N1 Influenza Adopted Novel Strategy to Move from Birds to Humans
Science Daily -
09 December 2009

The 2009 H1N1 influenza virus used a new strategy to cross from birds into humans, a warning that it has more than one trick up its sleeve to jump the species barrier and become virulent.

. . . Previous influenza strains that crossed from birds into people had a specific point mutation in the bird virus's polymerase gene that allowed the protein to operate efficiently inside humans as well. The polymerase transcribes the virus's RNA, allowing the host to express viral genes, and also copies the viral genome, needed to make new viruses.

The 2009 H1N1 virus retains the bird version of the polymerase, but has a second mutation that seems to suppress the ability of human cells to prevent the bird polymerase from working.

. . . She suggested that those monitoring influenza outbreaks around the world in search of new variants be on the lookout for this recombination of polymerase subunits, which could herald an uptick in swine flu virulence.

Related News


Huh, That's Interesting!

Invasive Species

It Ain't All Bad News
Photo Credit: S Mast Lee/Miami Herald