October 18, 2012

Today's Wildife Disease News Stories


Genomic hitchhikers in birds shed light on evolution of viruses

The genomes of birds are riddled with DNA sequences from viruses, according to a study to be published on October 16 in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. Analysis of these viral sequences, known as endogenous retroviruses (ERVs), can provide insights into how both hosts and viruses have evolved over the eons.

"We examined the evolution of avian retroviruses on the basis of their fossil remnants in the three avian genomes that have been completely sequenced," write the authors from Johns Hopkins University and Uppsala University, Sweden. The authors go on to say their analyses of ERVs in chicken, turkey, and zebra finch genomes reveal that birds were a hotbed of viral evolution early in their history.

..."This paper is filling a big gap in our understanding of these viruses," says Goff. "This is something that needed to be done, and advancing sequencing technology made it easy to do."

16 Oct 2012

Cited Journal Article
Bolisetty M, Blomberg J, Benachenhou F, Sperber G, and Beemon K. 2012. Unexpected diversity and expression of avian endogenous retroviruses. mBio 3(5):e00344-12. doi:10.1128/mBio.00344-12.

Chipmunk tests positive for plague

Signs warn visitors of plague at Taylor Creek Visitor
Center on Thursday. Axie Navas / Tahoe Daily Tribune
Local, state and federal officials are urging caution after a chipmunk near Taylor Creek Visitor Center was found with plague last week.

The rodent was rolled up in a ball, shaking and struggling to breathe when it was discovered by a U.S. Forest Service employee, Forest Service spokeswoman Cheva Heck said.

Vector control officials were contacted and captured the animal, which tested presumptive positive for the bacteria that causes plague, Yersinia pestis, Heck said.

Tahoe Daily Tribune
12 Oct 2012
A Jensen
Location:South Lake Tahoe, California, USA - Map It  

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