Evidence claims cat’s innocence

4 07 2008

via Australia Life Scientist

I don’t think these guys could have done research any cooler for me. They’ve combined my favourite fields all together – evolutionary biology, emerging infectious diseases, animal biology, genetics and bioinformatics.

Wasn\'t me, Honest Lah

What they’ve done is analysed the genome of the coronavirus that causes SARS –remember that? – and claim they have vindicated the poor beleagured civet cat as the natural reservoir of the disease.

Good news for the civet cat. (Maybe not, it’s possibly back on the menu).

And definitely not good news for chiropterologists and spelunkers – as bats have been implicated as the cause.

Bat’s just can’t get away from having a reputation as a “big bad”. If it’s not silly business such as  getting tangled in hair or stealing goats. There are a bunch of real viral diseases with human health impact that bats are known for being a natural reservoir for – many from Australasia. SARS is just one of the more recent additions.

Is this good news or bad news for bats and research?

Image credit: original caption; photo by Top Tripster cc-sa (Flickr)