Chronic Wasting Disease

Gray, Alicia
Chronic Wasting Disease is a transmissible spongiform ecephalopathy (TSE) or Prion disease which causes neurological disease found in deer and elk that produces small lesions in the brains of infected animals. Since this disease has yet to infect humans, it is an ideal model to use in the laboratory for safety reasons. We could use the research we do on the disease and use it to help in find more information on neurological diseases in humans. Through the use of surrogate protein markers, biomarkers, for the disease, we can produce a CWD test that is as simple as a human pregnancy test. This project will identify the DNA sequence for one of a library of biomarkers discovered. Since we do not know what the exact deer genome looks like, we used a program to synthesize degenerate primers based off human, bovine, mouse and rat DNA. With the primers, we would use PCR to determine if the primers could amplify anything similar to our known mammalian genes in the deer DNA. If our assumptions were right, we would be able to sequence short segments of deer DNA that is similar to genomes that we already know of. Finally, having the complete deer gene DNA sequence, we can identify the deer specific protein of interest.
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