Gene mutations and mad cow disease

I’ve always been interested in prions, so an article about mad cow disease in the news today caught my eye.

According to the article, a rare genetic mutation may underlie some cases of mad cow disease in cattle.  Apparently this mutation is identical to one that causes Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (a related brain-wasting disease in humans), suggesting BSE may sometimes arise spontaneously in cattle.  Of course, this suggests that cattle can develop BSE without ever eating contaminated feed.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

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