Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First direct evidence linking TB infection in cattle to local badger populations

Date:
November 29, 2012
Source:
Wellcome Trust
Summary:
Transmission of tuberculosis between cattle and badgers has been tracked at a local scale for the first time, using a combination of bacterial whole genome DNA sequencing and mathematical modelling. The study highlights the potential for the use of next generation sequencing as a tool for disentangling the impact of badgers on TB outbreaks in cows at the farm level.

Transmission of tuberculosis between cattle and badgers has been tracked at a local scale for the first time, using a combination of bacterial whole-genome DNA sequencing and mathematical modelling. The findings highlight the potential for next-generation sequencing to be used to understand the impact of badgers on TB outbreaks in cows at the farm level.

The role of badgers in the transmission of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) among cattle remains controversial: the government's proposal to implement a widespread badger cull in England was recently delayed and has met with extensive criticism over its evidence base.

Previous studies have used lower resolution genetic typing of bacteria and information observed during an outbreak to identify links between cattle and badgers. Until now, however, direct evidence of transmission of the bacteria between the two hosts at the farm scale has been lacking.

In this study, researchers made use of advances in genetic technologies to sequence whole genomes of bacteria that had been isolated from 26 cows and four badgers from a group of neighbouring farms in Northern Ireland over a decade-long history of repeated bTB outbreaks. This approach enabled the team to retrospectively trace changes in the bacteria's DNA as it passed from animal to animal.

The findings reveal that the bacteria isolated from badgers and cattle were extremely closely related, and indistinguishable bacterial types were often obtained from badgers and nearby cattle farms. Moreover, the bacteria isolated from the two species were more closely related to each other than they were to farms even a few kilometres away.

"This study provides the first direct evidence of the close relationship between tuberculosis infections in cows and local badgers, at a very local scale," explains Professor Rowland Kao, a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow who led the study jointly conducted by the University of Glasgow and the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute in Northern Ireland. "However, only with a larger study might we be able to quantify the extent and direction of transmission between cattle and badgers and reliably inform disease control policies."

The mathematical models used in this study show that different herd outbreaks were usually characterised by genetically distinct groups of bacteria, while bacteria from within single outbreaks were usually closely related, highlighting the potential to use next-generation sequencing to track the spread of the bacteria from herd to herd.

Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is an important disease of both livestock and wildlife with severe impacts on animal health and subsequent economic consequences. Although the disease in cattle is caused by a different bacteria to human disease (Mycobacterium bovis rather than Mycobacterium tuberculosis), M. bovis is believed to have been a major historical contributor to human cases of TB worldwide and remains a health concern in both high- and low-income countries.

The study is published November 29 in the journal PLOS Pathogens.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Roman Biek, Anthony O'Hare, David Wright, Tom Mallon, Carl McCormick, Richard J. Orton, Stanley McDowell, Hannah Trewby, Robin A. Skuce, Rowland R. Kao. Whole Genome Sequencing Reveals Local Transmission Patterns of Mycobacterium bovis in Sympatric Cattle and Badger Populations. PLoS Pathogens, 2012; 8 (11): e1003008 DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003008

Cite This Page:

Wellcome Trust. "First direct evidence linking TB infection in cattle to local badger populations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121129173948.htm>.
Wellcome Trust. (2012, November 29). First direct evidence linking TB infection in cattle to local badger populations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121129173948.htm
Wellcome Trust. "First direct evidence linking TB infection in cattle to local badger populations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121129173948.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
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