Bacteriophage (phages) — viruses that infect and replicate within bacteria — are known for their ability to evade their host’s defense mechanisms. Bacteria strains vary across geographical locations, so phages within them should, theoretically, also differ genetically across ecosystems, as a result of evolving to survive. However, phages separated by both time and space can evolve in similar ways, which suggests that many phages are not evolving by genetically mutating.
The behavior and spatial organization of animal populations can be influenced by the availability of food, disease spread in a territory, population density, seasonal changes, mating behaviors, and human influence. Because wolf and lion populations live in groups in expansive territories and both experience canine distemper virus (CDV), data from these populations provides a good comparison of how disease interplays with individual and group movements and behaviors.
Lawsonia intracellularis, a type of bacteria that lives in the cells that line a pig’s intestine, causes proliferative enteropathy disease, which is one of the most prevalent diseases in pigs in the United States. While researchers know that L. intracellularis may also be found within macrophages — immune cells that play an important role in host defense against infection — the role of macrophages in L. intracellularis infection is not well understood.
Cranial cruciate ligament rupture (CCLR) is a leading orthopedic problem in Labrador Retrievers. Michael Conzemius, DVM, PhD, DACVS, and Molly McCue, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVIM, recently collaborated on a study to determine the disease’s heritability in Labrador Retrievers, meaning they measured the extent to which CCLR is associated with genetics in this breed.