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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-03-2018, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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genetic resistance to CWD

If you do a search on "genetic resistance to cwd", you will find many scientific papers that have found the presence of a gene in deer that gives them resistance to CWD. If this is true, it gives some hope for a natural way to control this disease. The deer with this gene should live longer, breed more and eventually elevate the number of healthy deer to the point where it is not a significant problem.

If this gene does exist, using sharpshooters and culling herds indiscriminately may do more harm that good. They would be killing the good with the bad and not allowing nature to take its course. It would be better to eliminate only the bad deer after they are tested. The deer identified as carrying the good gene could be marked of tagged so they are not shot. This will require a lot of test development and catch and release effort but helping nature do it naturally might be better in the long run than wiping out a herd temporarily.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-03-2018, 04:26 PM
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Does the research say anything about the deer that show no sign of the disease still being able to shed the prions? I have never heard of any species developing a resistance to a prion based disease. There is evidence that animals and birds can develop a resistance to EHD but that s a virus based disease.

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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-03-2018, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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They are not developing a resistance. They are born with it due to their genetic makeup. I imagine if they are in contact with the prions, they not affected by them.
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-03-2018, 05:19 PM
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So, in a couple hundred years, this will no longer be an issue.

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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-03-2018, 05:29 PM
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It's an issue in the south but it's like any other mammal strong survive
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-03-2018, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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So, in a couple hundred years, this will no longer be an issue.
If we find a way to save the ones with the good genes and cull the others maybe it won't take that long, No one is saying that killing all the deer in an infected area will solve the problem. If deer without the gene moves into that area they will just get sick from the prions and they will all have to be shot again.

Now if you shot 50 deer and replaced them with 50 deer with the right genes you would create a population the would not get sick from the prions. If a sick deer wandered in he might be less likely to breed or, if he did, maybe his offspring not get the disease because the mother has the gene. It may be that he would not get the disease unless both his parents carry a recessive gene and the offspring have a 25 percent chance of getting. Kind of like green eyes in humans. Rare but it happens,

I don't think it is an issue of the strongest survive but that the best genes do.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-03-2018, 06:25 PM
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Ahh, those with the best genes are the strongest. Of course that is contingent on that there actually is a resistance to the disease in certain animals. Which would be entirely new for prion diseases..

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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-03-2018, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Woods walker View Post
Does the research say anything about the deer that show no sign of the disease still being able to shed the prions? I have never heard of any species developing a resistance to a prion based disease. There is evidence that animals and birds can develop a resistance to EHD but that s a virus based disease.

Here is an article about it. Study Shows Some Deer Genetically Resistant to Chronic Wasting Disease - Deer & Deer Hunting | Whitetail Deer Hunting Tips

I think it was Kramer from the comedy Seinfeld who said it best: Mother Nature is a mad scientist! Nowhere is this more apparent than when considering how different animals have physical characteristics that may look strange, but that are best suited to their environment. For example, whitetail deer are born with white spots, camouflaging and protecting them from predators.

Scientist Charles Darwin explained Mother Nature’s mad tendencies by natural selection. Harken back to high school biology class, where you probably learned about natural selection (a.k.a., survival of the fittest). Natural selection is the process by which certain species that possess genetic traits best adapted to their environment tend to survive and pass the genetic traits to offspring, while animals without these genetic traits tend to die off.

Chronic wasting disease is a perplexing issue for biologists, state wildlife agencies and hunters. The disease has been discovered in more than two dozen U.S. states and Canadian provinces. (Photo: Warden Micheal Hopper, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism)
Chronic wasting disease is a perplexing issue for biologists, state wildlife agencies and hunters. The disease has been discovered in more than two dozen U.S. states and Canadian provinces. (Photo: Warden Micheal Hopper, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism)

It’s important to remember what natural selection is, because it just may hold the key to dealing with chronic wasting disease (CWD). Unless you’ve been living in outer space you know that CWD has been killing deer, elk and moose for decades. Wild whitetails in Wisconsin have been hit particularly hard by the disease, with biologists first identifying it in the wild in 2002. The Wisconsin DNR tried unsuccessfully to eradicate CWD by hiring sharpshooters to eradicate all whitetails in the CWD core area. Hunters knew their efforts were in vain.

“The topography is heavily wooded and hilly, giving deer ample places to hide,” said Anthony Grabski, a biochemist, hunter and landowner in the original core Wisconsin CWD area. “Deer are also very evasive creatures, so it’s impossible to kill all of them.”

Thankfully, long gone are the days of Wisconsin trying to wipe out CWD by wiping out deer herds. Today the Badger State’s management of CWD is limited to monitoring its prevalence and spread. This passive management gives a nod to natural selection, and a recent study supports the approach.

University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher Stacie Robinson and her colleagues looked at tissue samples of harvested deer collected for six years in the core CWD area to identify a set of genes (genotype) that appear to make some whitetails genetically resistant to CWD. Statistical modeling showed that deer with a particular genotype were four times less likely to contract CWD, and if they did become infected, they lived 49 longer (8.2 months) than deer without the genotype.

Robinson and her colleagues estimate that about 41 percent of all deer in the original CWD core area have CWD-resistant genes, which they will pass on to offspring. If natural selection follows its normal progression, deer that are CWD-resistant should become dominant in a few hundred years. That’s good news to hunters like Grabski.

“This evolutionary change could take place in an area with low infection rates in as little as 250 years,” Grabski added. “In an area of high infection, the process will be accelerated, and most deer could be CWD-resistant in as little as 50 years.”

The implications for CWD management are enormous. Those who still advocate harvesting large numbers of deer to try to eradicate CWD and/or for CWD testing will undoubtedly take out CWD-resistant deer from the wild, slowing the process of natural selection. In the end, it’s probably best to leave CWD management to Mother Nature.

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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-03-2018, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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I agree I hope there is a lot of work going into to this to nail it down and to come up with a plan and tools to come up with a plan. Maybe someone on here can let us know.
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-03-2018, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by rockyDD View Post
I agree I hope there is a lot of work going into to this to nail it down and to come up with a plan and tools to come up with a plan. Maybe someone on here can let us know.
I don't think there will really be anything to do with wild populations. Mother nature will naturally do it over time.

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