The discovery of a new herpesvirus genome structure has made front-page headlines in the Journal of Virology. Researchers sequenced the genome of an herpesvirus causing high rates of mortality among several endangered species of tortoises!
For some years now, porpoises have been washed up on Belgian and French beaches bearing bite marks. Two researchers from ULg have just identified the culprit.
Alcelaphine herpesvirus 1 is a strange virus: it is harmless to its host species, the wildebeest, but is fatal when it is carried to cattle. Benjamin Dewals has perfected a vaccine against the disease.
Fertility in the Holstein breed of dairy cattle has been decreasing steadily. There are many causes but the accumulation of deleterious mutations causing early embryonic death could partly explain this decrease.
In Europe, many ruminants have been struck by this virus which is particularly dangerous to foetuses. A team from ULg has been following this epidemic closely.