Unusual virus may tie snakes in knots

Unusual virus may tie snakes in knots

Newly discovered class could be the cause of fatal disease

By Tina Hesman Saey, 17:06 PM August 17, 2012

A newly discovered class of virus may be at fault in a disease that causes snakes to regurgitate their food, stop eating, and even twist themselves into knots.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found three new viruses in captive snakes with inclusion body disease, a fatal illness that strikes boa constrictors and pythons and causes clumps of proteins to build up in the snakes’ cells. The unusual genetic makeup of the viruses could give scientists clues to virus evo...

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