Pangolins’ genetic makeup linked to increased coronavirus susceptibility

A study published in Scientific Reports suggests that pangolins are highly susceptible to coronavirus infection due to the pseudogenization of key immune system genes in their genome. Researchers analyzed pangolin skin and found that the host immune response pathways were not upregulated in response to infection. They also discovered that the coronavirus suppresses endogenous retrovirus gene expression in pangolin skin to support viral replication. The study concludes that the loss of immune system genes significantly modulates pangolin’s antiviral response and makes them vulnerable to coronavirus infection. This information is significant in understanding the susceptibility of pangolins to coronavirus and could potentially lead to the development of new strategies for their conservation.

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