New National Research Center Tackles CWD

CWD and EHD continue to be challenges for the farmed cervid industry, but thanks to advancements in technology and the opening of the National Agricultural Genotyping Center (NAGC), we may be seeing light at the end of the tunnel. I recently had the pleasure of attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the NAGC and was impressed with the variety of equipment and the layout of the labs they put together in only a short period of time.

The Center’s mission statement is "To translate scientific discoveries into solutions for production agriculture, food safety, functional foods, bio-energy, and national security."

I was excited to learn that one of the Center’s first projects on the animal side is development of assays to detect Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in live deer and to identify genotypes associated with tolerance to CWD.

While these projects are not easy, which has been proven by the years of research already preformed in many other labs throughout this world, another set of eyes and minds working towards that same goal will increase the odds in our favor. Resistant genetics was the solution to successfully control scrapie in the sheep industry, and early studies have found not all genotypes react the same to CWD exposure, hopefully the NAGC can figure out which combination of markers will prove successful in cervids.

If the future this same technology could also be applied to identify resistant markers to other diseases such as EHD and Mycoplasma.

Shawn Schafer, Executive Director