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Transgenic animals and prion diseases: hypotheses, risks, regulations and policies

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In his reply to my letter about transgenic animals and prion diseases the Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Barry O`Neil, raised several issues of science and policy that require a more detailed response. Debate about the status of prions as infectious agents devoid of nucleic acid seems to be over. The “unified theory” of Weissmann was a last-ditch attempt to postulate the existence of a nucleic acid (a “co-priori”) in the agent, but the theory was ill-conceived and since it was put forward a range of experiments have refuted the need for co-prions. In any case, reasonably sophisticated theories of prion replication are quite capable of dealing with the problem of strain specificity which the hypothetical nucleic acid is designed to solve…
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Keywords: Livestock; Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy

Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: February 1, 1996

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