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item Yen, Jong Tseng

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/24/2004
Publication Date: 11/27/2004
Citation: Yen, J. 2004. Taiwan's role in global biotechnology for animal welfare and production, human health, and homeland bio-security [abstract]. In: International Biotech Conference and Exhibition 2005, November 25-27, 2004, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. p. 47.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: In 2001, the UK had a major outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) caused by tainted meat products smuggled from China and fed to pigs. The outbreak is estimated to cost the U.K. £20 billion. Taiwan had a FMD in1997 costing $4 billion. Smuggled infected pigs or pork products was the likely source of Taiwan FMD outbreak. To avoid a similar case in the future, Taiwan's animal biotechnology should (1) assist government to establish an animal tracing system using recently discovered single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP)-based DNA testing, which can identify animals, and verify the source of animal products, (2) focus in developing new vaccines to protect animals from FMD infection, and (3) aim at developing molecular diagnostics with highly specific DNA on-site detection technology, allowing the use of a briefcase-sized device to detect FMD viruses on the farm within hours. These approaches can prevent another FMD outbreak and consequent economic impacts. It will also serve as a model for improving homeland bio-security in the world. The 100% fatal human variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is due to eating beef or beef products tainted with abnormal prions (PrPSc) of BSE cattle. Many countries have banned the import of Canadian and U.S. beef because of the discovery of a single case of BSE each in both countries in 2003. The ban cost Canadian beef industry $1.6 billion so far and U.S. beef industry $3 billion in January 2004 alone. The rapid BSE assays of post-mortem brain tissue require high levels of PrPSc and have a 0.1% false positive rate. No blood or urine test exists today for live subjects. The BSE test is worth annually $125 million for the European and Japanese markets, and $1 billion for 100% testing of the U.S. cattle. If Taiwan's animal biotechnology can use conformation-dependent immunoassay and specific ligand test to develop a new sensitive, rapid BSE test for blood or urine of living cattle, then, Taiwan would contribute significantly to global human and animal health, and also generate big profits from marketing and/or licensing the test. Porcine hepatocytes might be transplanted for treating human cirrhosis caused by hepatic viruses, because the xenogenic hepatocytes are not susceptible to infection by the virus. Taiwan's animal technology should collaborate with human biomedical research groups and use genetic engineering of pigs for hepatic xenotransplantation. The joint effort will improve tremendously the treatment of human hepatitis, particularly the type B, existing in Taiwan and around the world.