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Immunology and Biotechnology for the Study and Control of Infectious Diseases in Wildlife Populations

Paul A. Klein
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Vol. 24, No. 3 (Sep., 1993), pp. 346-351
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20095287
Page Count: 6
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Immunology and Biotechnology for the Study and Control of Infectious Diseases in Wildlife Populations
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Abstract

Worldwide experience has pointed to the central role of the immunologic defense systems of all animal species in resistance to and recovery from infectious diseases. Future improvements in the diagnosis and control of infectious diseases in wildlife populations will require an increased understanding of the immunology of threatened animal species, their associated pathogens, and the environmental factors that may undermine the immune system's ability to cope effectively with pathogens. Future research in this area will benefit from the networking of wildlife disease experts, immunologists, and biotechnology researchers to develop and utilize new tools and assays for management of diseases. Tools needed include up-to-date medical, genetic, and immunologic data bases, a wider variety of monoclonal antibodies to immune system components and pathogen-specific antigens, natural and recombinant pathogen-specific antigens for use in assays and as vaccines, and practical diagnostic immunoassays for measuring disease exposure and immune system function (immunologic competence). Future research must address diseases in both vertebrate and invertebrate animals and must integrate immunologic, microbiologic, pathologic, physiologic, developmental, genetic, and environmental data unique to each species. A program, Biotechnologies for the Ecological, Evolutionary, and Conservation Sciences (BEECS), that utilizes these principles has been developed at the University of Florida. The BEECS program is available as a resource to zoos, conservation groups, and individuals needing assistance in addressing problems of disease in wildlife populations.

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