Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Aleutian Disease Research Program Update

Did you know?  

·       The AD Research Program has five milestones that must be completed by September 2013.  These include status of the ADV infection and the success of the AD-control programs in NS; accurate detection of the virus in the environment and the live animal; and the development of a resistant mink.  All milestones will be completed. The development of a vaccine was NOT part of the current program.  
·       The AD Research Centre (ADRC) has been operating since December 2009 and more than 1500 mink have been inoculated with one strain of the AD virus.  This work is unique in the world because of the number of animals being studied under one roof in a controlled environment.  These mink continue to be monitored for performance and sampled for the presence (or absence) of both antibodies (CIEP) and the virus (PCR).

·       More than 95% of mink in the ADRC are positive for viral antibody (tested by CIEP) but the majority are negative for the virus in the blood (tested by PCR).  Negative for virus in the blood does not imply that the animal is free of the virus.  It just means that the virus is not replicating at the time of sampling. This is an extremely important finding as we develop the best tool(s) to use in breeder selection.
·      This is genetic research which means that the research needs to take place over several generations.  We are currently working with our second generation of kits born to inoculated mink. 

·       Ninety two percent of the mink genome has been sequenced in 104 samples and 8 different ADV types have so far been identified.   This information would help us to monitor sources or the movement of the AD virus among ranches, and to develop more accurate PCR tests.

·      Work is now underway to analyze the massive amounts of sequence data collected after inoculating mink with the AD virus (ADV). Using supercomputers, the data are being analyzed, and the information will be used to identify what genes are turned on or off by the virus  

·      The Aleutian Disease Research Program receives advice from the mink AD Research Management Board (ADRMB) made up of representatives from industry (ranchers), Dalhousie University and the research team
·      This research will have accomplished the first steps in what was set out to do by the research team and the AD Management Board.  However, there is more to do.  There is not a true understanding of how ADV works in the body of the mink but we are learning more every day.
·      The AD Management Board, Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture and the Research team remain committed to gathering information and finding answers to many questions surrounding this disease.  Communication of results will come forward to the industry as they become available

For more information, contact Dr. Hossain Farid at (902) 893-6727
or or Jeff Gunn at (902) 396 8494 or

Submitted by Jeff Gunn, AD Project Manager

Nov. 27, 2012 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Atlantic Mink Production Short Course

Perennia and the Dalhousie University Faculty of  Agriculturre are pleased to partner to bring you the Atlantic Mink Production Short Course, Jan. 14-17, 2013.

This course has been developed for mink ranchers and employees with up to 5 years of mink industry expereince, but new entrants and more experienced ranchers are welcome.  

Enrollment is limited to 30 participants, so if you're interested, I encourage you to get your registration in asap.

Registration information and a shortcourse brochure are available by clicking on this link: