More prion news

Last fall, Andrea wrote an excellent piece on prions, and how they “contradict century-old biological assumptions and seem to defy the expectations of Darwinian evolutionary theory.” He gives an overview of prions and discusses their potential role in heredity. My interest in them, of course, comes from the diseases they cause. Over at Aetiology, I have a post up discussing a new Lancet paper on the prion disease, kuru, and its potential to act as a model for other human prion diseases (such as “mad cow”). The authors suggest two things: one, that the incubation period of so-called “mad cow” disease may be longer than previously thought, and two, that there may be “waves” of epidemic, determined partly by host genetics.