Submitted to: World Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: November 17, 2005
Publication Date: November 17, 2005
Citation: Neill, J.D. 2005. The potential for post-genomics technologies in the diagnosis of zoonotic infections. In: Proceedings of the 7th OIE Seminar on Biotechnology. World Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, November 16-19, 2005, Montevideo, Uruguay. p. 12. Technical Abstract: The genomes of man, as well as multiple bacterial and viral pathogens, have been completely sequenced. Work toward or soon to be completed are the genomes of several agriculturally-relevant species. The leap in knowledge gained from this work has led to, and is driving, the development of new tools for studying interactions between host and pathogen. This work is providing great insights into how the infectious disease process works and how different processes can be exploited for treatment and diagnosis. This in turn is leading to the development of novel, sensitive and specific diagnostic tests that can be used in a wide spectrum of disease states caused by numerous pathogens. To date, most of the diagnostic test development has been in the human infectious disease and cancer arenas, but these technologies can find utility in veterinary medicine. The most notable technologies, DNA microarrays and proteomics, are already being put to use in diagnostics. DNA microarrays can be used to detect the presence of pathogen-specific DNA and RNA in clinical samples. Similarly, proteomics approaches can be used to detect pathogen-derived proteins in clinical specimens. An application of both microarrays and proteomics seeing increased use is in biomarker identification. This is the identification of proteins, either host or pathogen, that are indicative of an infection, and in many cases, are pathogen-specific. An offshoot of proteomics is protein arrays where proteins are spotted on slides and probed with antibodies. This is useful in both diagnostics and vaccine development. These new technologies are opening a vast arena for the development of rapid, sensitive and specific diagnostics and should be seeing use in veterinary medicine in the near future.