Unfortunately though, the findings seem to clarify prions' roles in evolution and life's interconnectedness.
Previously, rabbits were thought to be immune to prion diseases (like Mad Cow disease), which tend to jump between mammals. Now, scientists are asking if prions can jump even higher "barriers" to infect birds or fishes, for example. The answer is probably, "Yes."
In light of this new discovery, Dr. Castilla's group has decided to study whether prions can jump even higher barriers and infect birds or fishes, for example. In this sense, the Biogune team aims to untangle the molecular mechanisms that explain the different susceptibilities shown by species towards prions in order to mimic nature and develop new therapeutic strategies to combat transmissible spongiform encephalopathies.
The implications are huge, and Oh No!, look like they might affect the corporate bottom line.
This study opens up the debate regarding the suitability of feeding various species with animal proteins that may be contaminated with prions, even those that for many years have been considered to be resistant. “The ability of prions to adapt during their passage through various species suggests that any mammal is susceptible to infection and that the only safe means of preventing this is to avoid using feed that has come into contact with animal proteins”, concludes Dr. Castilla.
It will be interesting to see where all this might lead.
(visit the link for the full news article)
edit on 15/3/12 by soficrow because: format