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

Miller, W.L. and W. D. Walter. 2019. Spatial heterogeneity of prion gene polymorphisms in an area recently infected by chronic wasting disease. Prion 13: 65-76.


Genetic variability in the prion protein (PRNP) gene influences host susceptibility to many pathogenic prion diseases. Understanding the distribution of susceptible PRNP variants and determining factors influencing spatial genetic patterns are important components of many chronic wasting disease mitigation strategies. Here, we describe PRNP variability in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) from the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States of America, an area with a recent history of infection and low disease incidence. This population is characterized by lower rates of polymorphism and significantly higher frequencies of the more susceptible 96GG genotype compared to previously surveyed populations. The prevalence of the most susceptible genotypes at disease-associated loci did vary among subregions, indicating that populations have innate differences in genotype-dictated susceptibility.