Innovation Anthology

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Program ID: Innovation Anthology #878
Program Date: 06/20/2017
Program Category: Alberta, Conservation, Health and Medicine, Wildlife, Women in Science

Dr Evelyn Merrill: Determining Genetic Predisposition to CWD

Dr. Evelyn Merrill is an expert in Chronic Wasting Disease among deer.  

One project she's participating in involves taking muscle from deer  killed by hunters and determining the animal's genetics.

DR EVELYN MERRILL:    And there are certain  aleels that we have found are associated with either resistance to the disease, or vulnerability to the disease.  Now, resistance might be something along the lines that, you can get the disease but you don't die as quickly from the disease if you're of a particular genetic makeup.  Now that might seems good at first glance, but what could happen, even though they're not dying as soon, they actually are spreading it much more widely during their lifetime.  Whereas if they had died much more quickly, they would not be infecting as many animals, or even in transmitting it to the environment.  

Dr Merrill says how the deer's genetics interact with Chronic Wasting Disease will help scientists determine the impact of the disease over time.  


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