Many of the diseases we hear about these days are zoonotic – diseases that transfer from animals to people. Of these diseases, the pathogens most frequently at fault are RNA viruses. These viruses, which include avian influenza, SARS, and HIV, have RNA instead of DNA as their genetic material.
Why zoonotic diseases? Why viruses? The answer lies in our changing relationship with animals and the mercurial nature of the RNA virus. It takes more than a microbe to cause a disease. Alltech’s Director of Nutrition Kate Jacques will look at the ways in which our exploding human population has altered the boundaries between human and animal populations and why the rapidly adaptable RNA virus is the perfect zoonotic pathogen.
This episode of the Innovation Update features Kate’s presentation from the inaugural IdeaFestival Bowling Green: People, Animals and Disease – Perils of a Crowded Planet.