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Viruses impaired if their targets have diverse genes

When a viral infection spread through five genetically identical mice in a row, the virus replicated faster and became more virulent or severe. But when the infection spread one-by-one through five genetically diverse mice, the virus had trouble adapting and became less virulent. By showing this long-suspected mechanism holds true within a single species of vertebrate animal, namely, mice, the study suggests that increased genetic diversity should be promoted in livestock and in captive-bred endangered species so as to limit their risk of getting deadly infections.

Visit Website | Image credit: Elizabeth Fischer and Austin Athman, NIH Rocky Mountain Laboratories