Prions and Viroids - suffer a prion disease called Scrapie...

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Prions and Viroids: Despite the conventional wisdom that all infectious agents are composed of DNA or RNA it appears that Prions are a class of protein, derived from normal brain protein, where a mutation gave rise to a particle that interacts with the normal protein changing its shape to the infectious Prion. This bypasses the nucleic acid replication needed in all other known infectious agents. It appears, at this point, that these infectious particles produce a disease that results in slow neurodegeneration. In Great Britain hundreds of thousands of cattle were slaughtered because they showed signs of Mad Cow Disease, caused by a prion which it is believed, was transmitted to cattle by feeding them renderings of sheep, including brain material. Sheep have been known to
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Unformatted text preview: suffer a prion disease called Scrapie. The worry now is that these prion diseases seem to cross species lines with more ease than conventional pathogens. Evidence suggests that a human neurodegenerative disease "Creutzfeld Jacob Syndrome" may be caused by the new varient prion that is associated with Mad Cow. So far these problems in the human population have been extremely rare. Viroids: Viroids are naked bits of Rna that seem to have the ability to transmit themselves without associated proteins to cause infectious disease in some plants. It is believed that these particles are derived from transposons, or DNA that jumps from place to place inside normal cells. This is suggestive of a possible mode of origin of viruses....
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