Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Pennsylvania
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Pennsylvania Project

Linking Genetics to Movements of White-tailed deer to Assist Surveillance for CWD Epidemiology

September 2020 - August 2023


Participating Agencies

  • Ecosystem Mission Area, Disease Cyclical Funds

Surveillance for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer is often in response to finding a new disease foci with direction of surveillance controlled by some arbitrary distanced buffer around a diseased animal. Understanding large-scale gene flow across a region can identify the most likely transmission path of CWD because gene flow identifies historic ancestry of deer across a landscape. Combining landscape genetics with CWD surveillance would provide natural resource agencies a more structured approach to surveillance by providing disease units more reflective of the underlying subpopulation structure of deer in a region.