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Indian researchers discover the genetic mysteries underlying the rise in lumpy skin condition

Indian researchers discover the genetic in lumpy skin condition

Indian researchers discover the genetic mysteries underlying the rise in lumpy skin condition

A multi-institutional team of Indian scientists has made significant discoveries regarding the genesis and evolution of the strains of the Lumpy Skin Disease Virus (LSDV) that are causing the outbreak.

Cattle in India started to die in May 2022 from an unexplained sickness. Since then, a catastrophic epidemic of what scientists have diagnosed as LSDV has claimed the lives of roughly 1 lakh cattle heads.

India's agriculture industry has been severely impacted by the outbreak, resulting in enormous financial losses, IISc said on Tuesday.

Professor Utpal Tatu of IISc, who was a member of the multi-institutional panel that looked into the outbreak's source, referred to it as a "calamity" and "a national emergency" in different contexts.

The team's research, which was published in the journal BMC Genomics, offers a thorough genomic analysis of the LSDV variants that are circulating in India and sheds light on the disease's severity and the virus's increased virulence.

The absence of a well-established pipeline for LSDV genome sequencing and analysis was the largest obstacle. We had to modify methods from Covid-19 research, according to co-lead author of the paper and IISc PhD candidate Ankeet Kumar.

22 samples that were taken from diseased cattle throughout several states, including Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan, were subjected to advanced whole-genome sequencing. Two unique LSDV variants were found by their investigation; one had a high number of genetic changes, while the other had a low amount.

Unsettlingly, it was discovered that the extremely diverse strain had characteristics with LSDV strains from a 2015 outbreak in Russia, raising the possibility of a foreign strain being introduced into India.

In addition, the scientists discovered more than 1,800 genetic variants, including single-letter alterations, insertions, and deletions in DNA, many of which were discovered in viral genes essential for attaching to host cells, eluding the immune system, and replicating efficiently.

In regions where we discovered extremely varied strains, cattle showed more severe symptoms. Tatu stated that the genomic data will be extremely helpful for vaccine development by exposing molecular hotspots and genetic variations to target. "This suggests that the genetic variations could elevate virulence," Kumar stated.

According to IISc, the study is an illustration of the One Health concept, which brings together veterinary physicians, molecular biologists, and computational specialists to tackle problems with national significance in interdisciplinary teams.

Tatu emphasized that tracking down the variants across the nation required cooperation between veterinary specialists and other research institutions. The veterinary doctors taught us a great deal. They are aware of the field, and Tatu stated that their perspective on the illness was crucial.

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