More rapid and accurate test results may translate to better quality products
Researchers at the University of Minnesota, working in collaboration with scientists at the USDA, have used genomic information to develop tests that can rapidly detect and differentiate the bacteria that causes Johnes disease, a chronic wasting disease found in cattle and other ruminant animals such as sheep, goats and deer. This research, scheduled to be published in the Aug. 30 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also provides the foundation for a better understanding of the Johnes disease process and the design of vaccines to prevent infection.
Johnes disease is devastating to the United States dairy industry, costing about $200 million per year due to reduced milk production. Estimates indicate that the disease is present in approximately 25 percent of Minnesotas dairy herds. Because the bacterium that causes Johnes disease, Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis, is slow growing in the laboratory, previous tests often took between 6 and 18 weeks to process. The current study shows how genomic information may be used to develop highly specific, sensitive, and rapid tests for the detection of infected animals.
Sara E. Buss | EurekAlert!
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