Biochips For Disease Detection In Livestock

Scientists at the Kopelman Laboratory at the University of Michigan are developing noninvasive nanosensors to test livestock diseases. One of these nanosensors could perhaps be placed in, say, a cow's saliva gland in order to detect single virus particles long before the virus has had a chance to multiply and long before disease symptoms are evident.

Researchers at the University of Pretoria, for example, are developing biochips that will detect common diseases borne by ticks. A biochip (or microarray) is a device typically made of hundreds or thousands of short strands of artificial DNA deposited precisely on a silicon circuit. Chips can be used for early disease detection in animals.

Biochips can also be used to trace the source of food and feeds. For example, a biochip tests livestock feed to detect the presence of animal products from forty different species as a means to locate the source of

Did you know?

Avian influenza, or "bird flu," is a contagious disease of animals caused by viruses that normally infect only birds and, less commonly, pigs.

pathogens—a response to public health threats such as avian flu and mad cow disease.

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