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MINI REVIEW
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 10-15

Farmed deer: A veterinary model for chronic mycobacterial diseases that is accessible, appropriate and cost-effective


Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Disease Research Laboratory, University of Otago, Dunedin, NewZealand

Correspondence Address:
Frank Griffin
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Disease Research Laboratory, University of Otago, Dunedin
NewZealand
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0975-7406.124302

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Although most studies in immunology have used inbred mice as the experimental model to study fundamental immune mechanisms they have been proven to be limited in their ability to chart complex functional immune pathways, such as are seen in outbred populations of humans or animals. Translation of the findings from inbred mouse studies into practical solutions in therapeutics or the clinic has been remarkably unproductive compared with many other areas of clinical practice in human and veterinary medicine. Access to an unlimited array of mouse strains and an increasing number of genetically modified strains continues to sustain their paramount position in immunology research. Since the mouse studies have provided little more than the dictionary and glossary of immunology, another approach will be required to write the classic exposition of functional immunity. Domestic animals such as ruminants and swine present worthwhile alternatives as models for immunological research into infectious diseases, which may be more informative and cost effective. The original constraint on large animal research through a lack of reagents has been superseded by new molecular technologies and robotics that allow research to progress from gene discovery to systems biology, seamlessly. The current review attempts to highlight how exotic animals such as deer can leverage off the knowledge of ruminant genomics to provide cost-effective models for research into complex, chronic infections. The unique opportunity they provide relates to their diversity and polymorphic genotypes and the integrity of their phenotype for a range of infectious diseases.


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