Researchers Determine Global Prevalence of FIV
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a serious infectious disease that significantly affects the health of cats worldwide. Mitochondrial genomics may offer new insights into which cats are susceptible. In human medicine, scientists have determined that variations in mitochondrial DNA are associated with differences in disease progression in people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Because FIV is similar to HIV, researchers from the National Cancer Institute hypothesized that specific variations in mitochondrial DNA sequences may be associated with susceptibility to FIV. They collected tissue samples from wild and feral cats around the world and screened them for FIV. About 7 percent of the samples tested positive for FIV. The researchers also sequenced the FIV genome, which will be a valuable new tool in studying how different species-specific FIV strains evolve within each cat species.
The researchers discovered several functional differences in mitochondrial DNA sequences, suggesting that differences in cats’ mitochondrial efficiency may
explain why some are more susceptible to FIV infection. The information will help scientists develop better diagnostic tools and therapies for FIV.
This research was lead by Dr. Jill Pecon-Slattery at the National Cancer Institute.
Posted by MAF on August 15, 2012. Permalink