Innovation Anthology

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Program ID: Innovation Anthology #849
Program Date: 02/28/2017
Program Category: Alberta, Biotechnology, Environment, Genomics, Health and Medicine, Life sciences, Prions, Wildlife

Dr. David Wishart: Deer Droppings, Metabolomics and Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic wasting is a prion disease similar to mad cow disease. and it is spreading through the deer population across Alberta.  

Dr. David Wishart will be contributing his expertise in metabolomics to a project that is looking for new ways to identify and track the disease in the environment.

And the key element is the collection of deer droppings.

DR DAVID WISHART:   The reason why we decided to look at deer droppings is because currently the only way we can track or monitor the prevalence and incidence of Chronic Wasting Disease in deer is to actually capture or kill deer and to dissect them and look at the presence of prions in their brains.    But if anyone has ever gone for a walk in the woods, on any path you'll often see lots of deer droppings.  And deer droppings persist long after a deer has left.  This is a way you can actually track where deer have been.     And hopefully assess the presence of either prions or prion like markers in the deer droppings and therefore map the presence of Chronic Wasting Disease in certain regions in Alberta.   

This research of Dr. David Wishart and his colleague Dr. Debbie Mckenzie is supported
through Genome Canada, Genome Alberta and Alberta Innovates.


Learn more at  



Dr David Wishart, Professor, University of Alberta and Director, The Metabolomics Innovation Centre

Dr David Wishart, Professor, University of Alberta and Director, The Metabolomics Innovation Centre


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