Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New DNA-Based Technique To Check For Deadly Pneumonia

Date:
January 10, 2001
Source:
University Of Idaho
Summary:
It can take two weeks to know whether bighorn sheep bound for a new home carry bacteria linked to a deadly pneumonia. But a new DNA-based technique developed at the University of Idaho Caine Veterinary Teaching Center promises an answer within 24 to 48 hours.

CALDWELL, Idaho -- It can take two weeks to know whether bighorn sheep bound for a new home carry bacteria linked to a deadly pneumonia. But a new DNA-based technique developed at the University of Idaho Caine Veterinary Teaching Center promises an answer within 24 to 48 hours.

To help wildlife biologists prevent transmission of disease during future relocation operations, Drs. Al Ward and Glen Weiser are once again evaluating tonsil swab samples from Northwest bighorn sheep this winter.

Of the 348 bighorn sheep they sampled last year from Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Alaska and Canada, Ward and Weiser found that about 20 percent carried bacteria that potentially threaten the health of the wild sheep. These infected animals bore Pasteurella haemolytica and Pasteurella trehalosi bacteria armed with the "lktA" gene-a gene that enables the bacteria to release a toxin that attacks bighorns' white blood cells. As many as 75 percent of bighorns infected with lktA-positive bacteria can die of pneumonia.

Last year's samples were first cultured in the laboratory-the slower, conventional technique-then frozen and retested using the new, rapid polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, method. In the frozen samples, the PCR test came to the same conclusions as the older method 92 percent of the time.

Ward and Weiser are confident that this year's study-conducted entirely with fresh samples-will detect the lktA gene with even greater accuracy and frequency. Laboratory cultures, which use selective antibiotics to help isolate the Pasteurella bacteria, depend on follow-up steps to identify the bacteria and evaluate their ability to produce leukotoxin. By contrast, PCR is a direct test for the presence of the lktA gene. "Theoretically, one of the beauties of this type of procedure is that an intact gene can be detected and an infected animal can be identified even if the bacteria themselves have died," says Ward.

Mark Drew, wildlife veterinarian for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, calls Pasteurella pneumonia "probably one of the major factors" in death and illness among bighorn sheep. "Conceivably, if we could get results in a reasonable amount of time and with reasonable accuracy, we could potentially pick and choose the sheep that we wanted to move or transplant," he says.

All PCR tests depend on primers-short pieces of DNA that recognize only the specific sequence of the gene scientists are seeking. To locate any targeted gene, scientists need primers for both the beginning and end of its sequence. UI scientists first determined which primers were needed to find the lktA gene by using the National Institute of Health's electronic genebank for Pasteurella. Then, building on previous work by Ward, they developed a liquid enrichment medium that allows the disease organisms to multiply rapidly during overnight incubation. The formula works so well that as few as 50 live Pasteurella bacteria produce "profuse" overnight growth, Ward says, while multiplication of most other bacteria is prevented or retarded.

Ward believes the test will prove useful in two significant ways: It should be able to protect "clean" bighorn populations from infection by disease-carrying newcomers, and it should prevent chronically infected animals from being moved and dying unnecessarily of stress-induced flare-ups. But Ward and Weiser won't know for sure until this year's research is completed. "This stage of the testing is critical," says Ward. "We need to make sure that our technique works, that it works well and that it works quickly."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Idaho. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Idaho. "New DNA-Based Technique To Check For Deadly Pneumonia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 January 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/01/010110074934.htm>.
University Of Idaho. (2001, January 10). New DNA-Based Technique To Check For Deadly Pneumonia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/01/010110074934.htm
University Of Idaho. "New DNA-Based Technique To Check For Deadly Pneumonia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/01/010110074934.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

AP (July 30, 2014) River otters were hitting the water slides to beat the summer heatwave on Wednesday at Ichikawa City's Zoological and Botanical Garden. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins