Virginia Tech Scientists To Evaluate Risks Associated With Release of Recombinant Organisms

BLACKSBURG, VA, April 17, 1998 -- The USDA's Biotechnology Risk Assessment Laboratory has awarded a $182,000 grant to fund a study in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine to evaluate risks associated with the release of recombinant organisms into the environment.

Working in the college's Center for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease at Virginia Tech, Thomas Inzana will conduct the work with a recombinant strain of Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae he developed as a potential porcine vaccine.

"This is the first live, recombinant bacterial pathogen that causes respiratory disease in any animal or human that is being evaluated to determine the risks associated with the release of recombinant organisms," said Inzana. "We will be evaluating the potential for this strain to be transmitted to contact pigs in small and large herds as well as transfer of its foreign DNA to other microorganisms."

While recombinant organisms are being developed in laboratories around the world, Inzana explains, some questions exist regarding the safety of releasing these organisms into the environment. This study is designed precisely to answer that question, he said.

Inzana is a professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology.


Contact: Dr. Thomas Inzana
+1 540-231-4692
Virginia Tech

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