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Mutant Rats Resist Warfarin

Date:
February 17, 2009
Source:
BMC Genetics
Summary:
A new series of mutations have been discovered that allow rats to resist the effects of the popular poison warfarin. New research describes 18 new genetic changes found in rats from four continents.

Brown Rat. A new series of mutations have been discovered that allow rats to resist the effects of the popular poison warfarin.
Credit: iStockphoto/Andrew Howe

A new series of mutations have been discovered that allow rats to resist the effects of the popular poison warfarin. New research describes eighteen new genetic changes found in rats from four continents.

Simone Rost from the University of Wuerzburg, Germany, and an international team of researchers studied more than 250 rats and mice from anticoagulant-exposed areas in Europe, East Asia, South Africa and the Americas. Rost explained that, "Resistance against warfarin-like compounds has been reported in rodent populations from many countries around the world and poses a considerable problem for efficacy of pest control."

Warfarin and related compounds are derivatives of the plant toxin coumarin. They prevent blood coagulation by repressing the enzyme vitamin-K reductase (VKOR). Rost and colleagues studied VKORC1, the gene responsible for a key component of the VKOR multiprotein complex. According to the authors, "Mutations in VKORC1 may cause a heritable resistance to warfarin, possibly by preventing coumarin derivatives from interfering with the activity of the reductase enzyme".


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Simone Rost, Hans-Joachim Pelz, Sandra Menzel, Alan D MacNicoll, Vanina Leon, Ki-Joon Song, Thomas Jaekel, Johannes Oldenburg and Clemens R Muller. Novel mutations in the VKORC1 gene of wild rats and mice - a response to 50 years of selection pressure by warfarin? BMC Genetics, (in press)

Cite This Page:

BMC Genetics. "Mutant Rats Resist Warfarin." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090205214433.htm>.
BMC Genetics. (2009, February 17). Mutant Rats Resist Warfarin. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090205214433.htm
BMC Genetics. "Mutant Rats Resist Warfarin." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090205214433.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

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