Tag Archives: livestock

Wild sheep show benefits of putting up with parasites

In the first evidence that natural selection favors an individual’s infection tolerance, researchers from Princeton University and the University of Edinburgh have found that an animal’s ability to endure an internal parasite strongly influences its reproductive success. Reported in the journal PLoS Biology, the finding could provide the groundwork for boosting the resilience of humans and livestock to infection. (more…)

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Africa’s poison ‘apple’ provides common ground for saving elephants, raising livestock

While African wildlife often run afoul of ranchers and pastoralists securing food and water resources for their animals, the interests of fauna and farmer might finally be unified by the “Sodom apple,” a toxic invasive plant that has overrun vast swaths of East African savanna and pastureland.

Should the ominous reference to the smitten biblical city be unclear, the Sodom apple, or Solanum campylacanthum, is a wicked plant. Not a true apple, this relative of the eggplant smothers native grasses with its thorny stalks, while its striking yellow fruit provides a deadly temptation to sheep and cattle. (more…)

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UA Solution for Deadly Shrimp Disease to Become Available Worldwide

UA researchers have developed a rapid screening test to detect disease-causing bacteria in commercial shrimp farms.

A bacterial disease called early mortality syndrome is killing off the stocks of the world’s three largest shrimp producers: Thailand, China and Vietnam. In some places, production is down by nearly 50 percent from last year. But there is hope. Don Lightner in the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences at the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has a solution for detecting the bacteria in the stocks, allowing infected populations to be separated from healthy ones. (more…)

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Predicting hotspots for future flu outbreaks

This year’s unusually long and rocky flu season would be nothing compared to the pandemic that could occur if bird flu became highly contagious among humans, which is why UCLA researchers and their colleagues are creating new ways to predict where an outbreak could emerge.

“Using surveillance of influenza cases in humans and birds, we’ve come up with a technique to predict sites where these viruses could mix and generate a future pandemic,” said lead author Trevon Fuller, a UCLA postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability’s Center for Tropical Research. (more…)

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March of the Pathogens: Parasite Metabolism Can Foretell Disease Ranges under Climate Change

Knowing the temperatures that viruses, bacteria, worms and all other parasites need to grow and survive could help determine the future range of infectious diseases under climate change, according to new research.

Princeton University researchers developed a model that can identify the prospects for nearly any disease-causing parasite as the Earth grows warmer, even if little is known about the organism. Their method calculates how the projected temperature change for an area would alter the creature’s metabolism and life cycle, the researchers report in the journal Ecology Letters. (more…)

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Study Suggests Antibiotics Might be Another Suspect in Honey Bee Die-off

The gut bacteria of honey bees have acquired several genes that confer resistance to tetracycline, a direct result of more than five decades of use of antibiotics by American beekeepers and a potential health hazard for bee colonies, a new study by Yale University researchers show.

The genetic analysis of the gut bacteria, which are believed to help in bees’ digestion and ability to ward off parasites, suggests changing antibiotic use by beekeepers might be one factor in the mysterious colony collapse disorder afflicting bee populations. (more…)

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Controlling the Spread of Diseases Among Humans, Other Animals and the Environment

New NSF-NIH-USDA-BBSRC grants fund research on how infectious diseases are transmitted

West Nile virus, Lyme disease and hantavirus are all infectious diseases spreading in animals and in people. Is human interaction with the environment somehow responsible for the increase in incidence of these diseases?

A joint National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases (EEID) program is providing answers.

It supports efforts to understand the underlying ecological and biological mechanisms behind human-induced environmental changes and the emergence and transmission of infectious diseases. (more…)

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Witch Hunts Targeted by Grassroots Women’s Groups

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Witch hunts are common and sometimes deadly in the tea plantations of Jalpaiguri, India. But a surprising source – small groups of women who meet through a government loan program – has achieved some success in preventing the longstanding practice, a Michigan State University sociologist found.

Soma Chaudhuri spent seven months studying witch hunts in her native India and discovered that the economic self-help groups have made it part of their agenda to defend their fellow plantation workers against the hunts. (more…)

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