Persistent Prions: Soilbound agents are more potent

By Carolyn Barry, 15:57 PM April 15, 2008

Deformed proteins called prions cause fatal brain-destroying disorders, such as chronic wasting disease in deer and elk and mad cow disease, which can infect people. Evidence suggests that prions make their way into animals' nervous systems through ingestion, but scientists aren't sure.

A new study shows that prions become more infectious when they latch on to soil particles that animals eat, suggesting that ingestion is a primary route of disease transmission. "Our study points us in one dir...

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