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Age structuring and spatial heterogeneity in prion protein gene (PRNP) polymorphism in white-tailed deer.

Authors
  • Chafin, Tyler K1
  • Douglas, Marlis R1
  • Martin, Bradley T1
  • Zbinden, Zachery D1
  • Middaugh, Christopher R2
  • Ballard, Jennifer R2
  • Gray, M Cory2
  • Don White, Jr3
  • Douglas, Michael E1
  • 1 Department of Biological Sciences, University of Arkansas , Fayetteville, AR, USA.
  • 2 Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Research, Evaluation, and Compliance Division , Little Rock, AR, USA.
  • 3 University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station , Monticello, AR, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Prion
Publisher
Landes Bioscience
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2020
Volume
14
Issue
1
Pages
238–248
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/19336896.2020.1832947
PMID: 33078661
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Chronic-wasting disease (CWD) is a prion-derived fatal neurodegenerative disease that has affected wild cervid populations on a global scale. Susceptibility has been linked unambiguously to several amino acid variants within the prion protein gene (PRNP). Quantifying their distribution across landscapes can provide critical information for agencies attempting to adaptively manage CWD. Here we attempt to further define management implications of PRNP polymorphism by quantifying the contemporary geographic distribution (i.e., phylogeography) of PRNP variants in hunter-harvested white-tailed deer (WTD; Odocoileus virginianus, N = 1433) distributed across Arkansas (USA), including a focal spot for CWD since detection of the disease in February 2016. Of these, PRNP variants associated with the well-characterized 96S non-synonymous substitution showed a significant increase in relative frequency among older CWD-positive cohorts. We interpreted this pattern as reflective of a longer life expectancy for 96S genotypes in a CWD-endemic region, suggesting either decreased probabilities of infection or reduced disease progression. Other variants showing statistical signatures of potential increased susceptibility, however, seemingly reflect an artefact of population structure. We also showed marked heterogeneity across the landscape in the prevalence of 'reduced susceptibility' genotypes. This may indicate, in turn, that differences in disease susceptibility among WTD in Arkansas are an innate, population-level characteristic that is detectable through phylogeographic analysis.

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